Leaving on a Fast Train

Trip Start Jun 03, 2013
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Trip End Aug 25, 2013


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Flag of China  ,
Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Today was the first time I got to sleep in, well, sort of. I set my alarm for 7:30 a.m. I wanted to get breakfast, so I had to be down there by 8 a.m. before they closed. That was so I could take my last dose of the Beijing Cough medicine I got from the pharmacy. (It's supposed to be taken after meals).

I do seem to be doing better; although, it's still a battle. Hopefully, going to the somewhat better air of Xi'an will help also. I just hope I don't have to start all over when I get back to Beijing on Sunday.

I'm all packed and ready to go. Ada should be here in about 30 minutes or so. I think she needs to go see Guo for a bit, but we need to be at the train station an hour ahead of time, so we won't have too long before we need to leave.

Separate from the normal excitement of going to a new place and all the cool things we're going to see and do...I'm looking forward to a real bed and a real shower! :)

Oh, and I'm curious to see how the train ride will be. After we bought our tickets, Ada told me that her husband told her to get 1st class tickets, but because they are about the same price as a plane ticket, she decided to get 2nd class tickets, but we can upgrade them coming back if we don't like it. Apparently, 2nd class is rather dirty and crowded. As always, it will be an adventure. Any bets on whether we stay with 2nd class or upgrade to 1st coming back to Beijing?
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We had originally thought that maybe we would go somewhere during the day before we left on the train, but then decided against it. I think that was a wise decision. It took awhile to pack and get everything ready. I packed my big tote bag with my clothes and a shoulder bag with some other things. I didn't want to use my big suitcase.

Ada came at about 2 p.m. with her dad. He took us to the train station. The traffic was crazy and the air conditioning only worked intermittently. The train station was insane. There were people everywhere outside sitting on the ground with their bags. They were a bit scruffy looking. They couldn't go inside the station without a ticket. Ada and I went in and found our waiting area. We were lucky to find 2 seats. The place was packed. This is life in China: people everywhere.

People started lining up at the check-in area, but we waited until they started letting people through. Again, wall-to-wall people. At one point, I felt someone touch my elbow behind me, and turned to see a hunched over old man walking toward the front of the crowd, parting them like the red sea. Ada was as perplexed as I was. Next thing we know, he was coming back down the middle of the mass of people in prayer position, humming in a low-growl kinda way, putting his forehead to the ground. His knees and a spot on his forehead were black from this practice. He was not the only beggar in the waiting area. There were children canvassing the place. They were dirty little urchins, and Ada and I talked about the sad situation that these children are put in.

We finally got through the check-in station and went to our train car. We had seats at the front of the car which allowed for more leg room, but less window. Ada had brought lots of food for us. She loves to eat ramen and snack on train trips. I had no idea or even thought about it. I'm glad she was so well prepared. She had even thought of my food allergies and brought me rice ramen noodles instead of wheat-based ones. I thought that was so nice. One of the things she brought that I loved was peach pulp that is dried and is salty, sour, and sweet all at the same time. Yumm! She also brought me some hard "candies" to help with my throat. It has licorice, snake gall (whatever that is), and some other herbal type things. It tastes good and does make my throat feel better.

The train was rather nice. I saw no reason whatsoever to switch to first class. It was clean and new. I think these high-speed trains (CRH) have not been in service very long. The 5-hour trip wasn't bad at all. We got to our hotel, The Lemon Hotel, and checked in. The hotel is fairly new also, and quite nice. The bed was rather firm for my liking, but at least I didn't have to climb a ladder to get into it. The pillows were heavenly. I finally got to shower in a real (and CLEAN) shower again.

Then, time for bed. We have a full day ahead of us tomorrow.

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Comments

Shereen on

I am so happy to see that you are doing so well and having fun! I am sorry about the Beijing cough...I'm starting to learn from experience what to pack when I travel internationally!
We miss you. There are so many times that I pick up the phone to call you, and I forget you're not here.
Which email can I use to contact you? :o)

kitkatgo
kitkatgo on

Hey! I miss you too! It will be good to get back home.

Gmail works now, so that is best. I check my Fullerton email sometimes too.

~K

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