China

XIAMEN to BEIJING: Train Life

So we bought our tickets last-minute and got standing room only. 33 hours… standing room only.

I don’t think Jenny and I knew what we were getting into, hahaa. She did a standing room only from Shanghai to Xiamen and she found a great spot to sit, and that was an 8 hour ride and the train wasn’t even packed.

We started our voyage out by an almost empty train, we boarded at 10 pm. We each found three vacant seats and decided to pass out on them. We lasted until about 7.30am, sat up and talked until around noon or so. Eventually our luck wore out and more people boarded the train. We were pushed to the back of the train, where not only was it packed but there was no room to sit.

So we stood for a few hours. Then eventually a seat, lo and behold was not being used! Jenny and I took turns with the seat and met a few new friends who spoke very little English but kept the ride interesting.

We were greeted by the cutest little girl, we giggled with her said our hellos and she moved towards the back hall area. Then a minute later… her mother lifted her legs in front of us, and allowed her to pee.. towards us and we watched it stream towards peoples luggage and our seats. “AUGH!” I screamed. I mean I am used to kids peeing everywhere but not near my feet. Her mom grabbed some tissues and attempted a brief clean of the area. Great. Now not only was I sitting on a stool but next to pee as well, augh got to love it TIC, all apart of the culture and trip I suppose.

We swapped from standing, sitting, and sitting on the floor/a small stool (fit one butt cheek). Once it started getting later… 9pm, 10pm.. we took two hour intervals instead trying to get some sleep. At one point my legs were so cramped (maybe around 11pm) I got up and did some train dancing. I was going slightly insane being on that train for then 24+hours and needed to move about. It was so cramped though you couldn’t walk around so I stood in place blaring some Lady Gaga and going side to side… I think I kept a few people entertained and it made my hour go by quickly. As the night edged on more and more the train became more and more packed. People were standing in the isles, on the bathroom sink, in front of doors I mean this place was a firemans’ nightmare. It was 1am and I could not take it any longer I had to use the bathroom. Which, did I mention, was a squat toilet on the train? That made for an interesting bathroom situation at any time, let alone a shaking moving train. I stood up, said a prayer and looked down the long isle that was literally packed with people attempting to sleep in it. This girl needed to go though so outta the way world! Excuse me, pardon me, move please… was said a million times as I tetris’ed my way towards the bathroom. I think I bumped around ten heads, stepped on three peoples feet, almost a babies head (I didn’t though I swear) and practically dry humped a whole army before I reached the bathroom. Sweating and slightly frustrated I stumbled next to the door which was barricaded by a sleeping woman. I turned to the man next to her made a sound like “aughhhhhhh” and pointed to my bladder. He moved her over, still sleeping, and I literally squished my way through a small opening in the door. FREEDOM. After I was done, it was time for the long haul back to the end of the train… again, sweat, dry humping, hitting and stepping on all took place.

Eventually around 3am or so, one of our new friends departed a few stations before Beijing which left two seats for Jenny and I and 5 hours left to siesta… or at least try to.

We eventually rolled into Beijing Xi Station (West) exhausted, hungry and starting to get crabby (we were doing so well!).

After saying our goodbyes I still faced a 1 hour plus subway ride home and then a 15 minute taxi or cart ride to my apartment. I live off of line 4 and it’s always busy at first but then a few stops down its almost empty. I was fortunate to get a seat next to the doors which comes equipped with a window and i laid against if for the trip passing out from all the shenanigans that just occurred.

In China public transportation is the way to go! Unfortunately though when you are READY to be home.. you have to wait just a biiiiiit longer.

Thank you China Train, but I will never do standing room only for 33 hours again.. I learned my lesson….

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One thought on “XIAMEN to BEIJING: Train Life

  1. Congratulations for your first standing train ride. My first ever standing train ride was 20 hours journey from Xi’an to Shijiazhuang and it was insanely full. There are no seat, not even a room for standing. Me and my Peruvian friend are being squeezed in the small corner near the bathroom like a sandwich by a lot Chinese with a giant rucksack (I couldn’t say baggage because it looks more like a rucksack)

    But yeah, I, too, learned my lesson, and next time I would be more careful when planning my trip. Best regard from a fellow “lost soul” in China, haha =)

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