AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Annoying Chinese Trains

I suppose it’s actually my fault we’re on this train and not a better one, but I feel better blaming the company than myself. So why is it annoying? Well, because China is so huge many of the trains are sleeper trains (certainly almost all trains we’re taking are sleeper trains) but each bed only gets one set of bedding (a pillow and a quilt). So if the train starts elsewhere and has already being on the go over night the odds are you’ll get someone else’s used bedding!

Four days ago we went to the train station to book the tickets to Xi’an from Chengdu. We found that every train leaving in the evening (about 4) was fully booked. That’s usually 16-18 carriages holding 40+ people in each carriage! The next night was fully booked too. Damm, that’s a lot of people on the move! So we looked at the day trains (leave during the day and arrive very early in the morning). There were only two trains available. It turns out the train I booked started in Kunming yesterday, so our beds have screwed up used bedding. Eugh! Annoyingly, this is the only train which doesn’t start in Chengdu. Every other train I could have picked would have had clean bedding and be better.

The train is packed. As was every other train leaving Chengdu. It’s hard to comprehend so many people on the move, everyday!

On the plus side the train has trolleys going up and down selling everything you may need. Meals, snacks, drinks, fruit, portable batteries for phones, headphones, books, tourist maps, etc.

But, it’s cramped and sweaty in here. Plus, everyone travels with MASSIVE bags! Suitcases the size of children are normal. It’s a race to get the bags on the luggage rack before someone with a crazy sized bag gets on. We are also are at the end of the carriage, handy for the toilet and it also gives us some extra space, but that too has a downside. I can see three no smoking signs around the guy in front of me who’s smoking. There’s also a sign saying don’t put cigarette waste in the bin. He’s sat on a tiny stool by the bin flicking his ash into the bin! The staff don’t care… The Chinese eating habits are quite disgusting to our ears. The breaking open of nut shells with their teeth is something I complained about last time we used the Chinese train network, well, here I am again complaining about the same thing. Where the hell do these nuts come from? I don’t see any in the train station. So why have so many people got nuts on the train. Is this a train travel tradition we don’t know about? You must eat nuts on the train!  The crunching never ends…especially when they have a 1kg bag of nuts to crunch their way through…

Actually, I lie about it been good for the toilet near the end of the carriage. Everyone has a massive crap, very often! The toilets stink of it! It’s best to be as far away from the toilet as possible!

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View down the hard sleeper carriage

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Annemarie in her bunk

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