I feel a bit like I’m about to set the trap that’ll catch me; I’m about to complain/laught about a problem/experience that I’m the cause of, and I keep repeating it.
I seem to torture myself, in an attempt to save time, I try to take nighttrains between cities in China, and that’s despite the fact that I’ve only managed to get a hard sleeper once (forget about soft sleepers), leaving me with hard seats (that have very straight backs), for trips that last all through the night (actually, one trip was a standing ticket, but I managed a set in the dining car, for a sum of money).
So, nights of uncomfortable and broken sleep, only to arrive knackered and broken, half ruining your first day in a new place. What’s not to like? Besides all of it, there’s one hugely entertaining/interesting/sleep-depriving part to it. For some reason, there’s very few Westerners on the trains, which has made Mette and me, objects of intense curiosity.
Our first trip in a hard seat compartment, involved hours of talking to a Chinese person in English, who then translated everything we said, as well as countless photographs, both sneaky and posed. The questions mainly concerned how we liked China, what Denmark is like, what we wanted to see in China, that we aren’t a couple and how beautiful/handsome people from northern Europe are (oh you).
The second experience was different, since we could only get one sleeper ticket, Mette and I were seperated for most of the trip. She had a lot of Chinese boys for company, while a girl from that group, came to the dining car to visit me, curious to learn everything about Denmark, and eager to share about where she’s from (Jiāyùguān, the boondocks of China, though it’s supposedly very, very beautiful).
So while I didn’t get much sleep, and what I got was both uncomfortable and broken, it was a fun and interesting experience. having an entire train cart staring at you, while explaining that we have a “female king” in Denmark, is, at least in hindsight, hugely entertaining; at the time, it felt very awkward.
What’s the next step? A hard seater (I really need to learn to book tickets earlier) from Luoyang to Shanghai, merely 17 hours in the world of being stared at, and people shouting in Chinese, to get the sole English speaker to translate his or her question.
I can’t wait, this is what traveling is, sharing.