Adventure,  All Stories,  Asia,  China,  Solo Female Traveler,  Transportation

Chinese Transportation – Part 1: The Train

I anticipated an adventure here, and I was right! The trains in China are dated but surprisingly efficient. The cleanliness of the tables and bedding could be much worse, but it is the people I have been traveling alongside that make me feel like livestock – I don’t mean to condemn all Chinese people as animals, for my experience might relate to the lower class and consist of unique companions, but this is a negative side of my travels.  But it could be worse, I hear that in India you really do travel with the farm animals!

So I have already gone over the sprinting process of arriving at the train and the pushing involved to board it. Unfortunately I booked my ticket only a few days in advance and there were only hard seats left. I thought I could handle 9 hours sitting on a train. I was wrong, I nearly went mad from being cramped and disgusted. I was lucky enough to get a corner seat against a window, but these seats are straight up and face one another. I have never seen a train car more crammed with people and their endless belongings, some brought multiple bags hanging off a stick balanced on their shoulders, like in the rice fields!
Those that didn’t have seats crammed on top of and in between luggage and boxes and other people. If you wanted to stand you stand on your seat. I did not get up or talk to anyone for what turned out to be 12 hours, which is incredibly difficult without a book or music! not to mention being surrounded by horking, spitting, snorting, burping and slurping noodles! One man must have had a disease since he snorted with each breath. You are not allowed to smoke in the station, which has wide open bays to outside, but in this enclosed compartment everybody smokes.

Therefore my trip was quite unpleasant, however I cant help but wonder if I would be more understanding if I could decipher what they were saying instead of just listening to the harsh sounds and dirty looks!
So from now on I will always be booking a sleeper bed well in advance to avoid such close encounters, they are much more comfortable and its even possible to get some sleep……. now its only the washrooms you have to look out for!