Its 4pm now and we have been on the train to Chengdu for nearly 3 hours. We arrived at the station to find the usual scrabble to get onto the platform and after a bit of pushing and shoving find our carriage and get on the train. For this journey we have booked soft sleeper as we will be awake for at least half of it but our compartment isn’t as nice as I had hoped. It reminds me a bit of an old grannies parlour with nets, lacy things on the seats and a sad looking filthy plastic rose in a vase.
Still its safe as the door has a very sturdy lock on it and although the floor needs cleaning the sheets and pillows look clean enough. In some ways its good because we are on our own in here and can spread out, do as we please etc but on the other hand Simon pointed out that we won’t meet anyone which is a shame as we have found out some good information on train journeys and met some lovely people.
We seem to have stopped at lots of stations already and eye up the station snacks on offer with interest. Chicken heads and feet on skewers seem to be one of the most popular things but we have had some noodles, Oreo’s and coffee made with lemon flavoured milk. (Surprisingly not too bad) As we continue on our journey we start to go through a series of tunnels. As we come out of the tunnels for a few seconds we get tantalising glimpses of the stunning scenery. We realise this train actually cuts right through a mountain range and wow is the only word to describe the amazing views, brief though they are.
I have to brave the train toilets soon and think back to our first train journey in India. I feel like we are squat toilet veterans now but have noticed some differences in China to the rest of Asia. Some of the Chinese girls don’t seem to be too shy and we have ventured into several toilets to find the doors all open and everyone crouching down having a good chat and a cigarette! Very friendly!
A lady comes round with a food trolley and we order some non descript looking pieces of fat and gristle with green chillies and rice, a few beers and a bottle of red wine that tastes like strawberry cordial. At 10pm I insist on lights out. Our train will be arriving at 5.30am and I’m not looking forward to the early start. Listen to my beloved MP3 player for half an hour. Pink Floyd across the mountains of China -yeh this is the life!