Zhangjiajie and The Train Ride – Part I


It started to get warm in Shanghai. I forgot the exact month but it was announced to us that we had two choices to pick for our 5 days vacation. I can’t remember why I picked Zhangjiajie but I think it had to do with the description; “UNESCO Word Heritage Site” I think it was definitely that.

The train ride, I was told wasn’t going to be easy. I had a fair memory of riding the train in China (in 1997) when I was much much younger. Of course at age 11, a three-bed bunker felt like a castle and the top bed made me feel like the king (not queen or princess, The King). We were a group of 60 students, maybe more or less. I actually can’t remember. You will see a picture and if you have free time, you can count them. We took the entire car train and it felt a bit chaotic but the good kind. We were picking beds and each group picked a section. Each section has 6 beds. I, took the top one.

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I remember the ride taking 48 hours but Google map indicates 24 (maybe for non-stop) but our train kept stopping in every city. It didn’t take more than couple of hours before it would stop again each stop would take 15 mins to start again. During the ride, our food options were very limited. I regretted not bringing my own food. There was a Chinese lady pushing a cart with snacks and instant noodles every other hour. Our other option was the restaurant. Actually, that wasn’t’ really an option. See picture below in the gallery section. I survived on snacks, instant noodles and pity from the people that did bring food.  I definitely lost weight on this trip. Me and others too, specially if you didn’t eat spicy.

The bathroom situation was complicated. If you have ever been to China, you would know you have to carry your own toilet paper. Gladly, I did. During the train ride, I kept hearing people joking about the bathroom but never knew what it was until I stepped in while the train was in full motion. The bathroom consisted of a metal room with a whole on the floor. Yes, I said that right, a whole on the floor. A missed step and you can say bye bye to your leg. I stared at the whole for a good minute until someone knocked on the door. I let them know it was claimed and quickly did my business while holding to dear life my toilet paper.

Aside from the mild horror story, the train ride was fun. We conglomerated on the lower bed and played random drinking games. To be more specific, Korean drinking games. Those guys can drink! I on the other hand, cannot hold my alcohol. I can’t even have a sip of beer without getting the Asian glow. So I had no choice but to become really good at those games and if you are pretty enough, a gentleman will take the shot for you.

We arrived on a foggy morning and eager to get the hell out of the train, we gather all of our stuff and walked out like zombies.

PS. Once again, pictures were taken with a point and shoot.


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