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The Night Train To Guangxi

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Wednesday, 15th February 2006

Sometime in the morning we pulled into the eatery we had stopped in on the way to Jinghong. No one at all ventured near the stalls. Yep, another happy bus trip. We made it to Kunming at mid day. Everyone happily yet shakenly collected their luggage and left the bus station in search of any offered comfort. My body needed coffee. It needed a lot of coffee! We slowly left the bus station with our brains still bouncing around inside our bruised heads. We decided to get coffee at Dicos at the station and then try for tickets and then head to the Camellia Hotel for a shower. News reports from previous days had left us with bad feelings in regards to tickets. The closure of Spring Festival and 18 million students returning to their university campuses, oh oh! Yikes!

We passed families whom it looked had slept where they sat for days. Hundreds of them filled the area in front of the station. They lay on cardboard boxes and blankets making a temporary shanty town. As we passed the huge ticket office we found ourselves drawn in by the overwhelming ness of it all. It was mostly civilised with only a small amount of people trying to push in and walk straight to the counter to get served. This time and for the first time I had ever witnessed, they were told to 'go away' by the ladies behind the glass. Thirty minutes later we left the station with tickets onboard the 7:03pm train that night. I was expecting to wait half the day in line.

After a shower and a change of clothes we headed into the city for the day. At 6:00pm we gathered our belongings and took a cab to the station. The train left 2 minutes late. Now that's worth writing home about. Spring Festival is taking its toll on the rail system in China. We were of course in hard sleeper and in one of the newer carriages. If you find yourself in China try and get an old carriage. The new ones have no windows that open and the temperature is set at what I'm sure 150 degrees. This along with no airflow made for a second sleepless night.

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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