Tuesday, June 12, 2012

...overnight train to Beijing...

I am told that as an infant, I traveled with my parents on a train in the Midwest.  Later, some friends took my co-worker and me on the scenic Agawa Canyon railroad in Ontario.  Besides these experiences, my life has been fairly train-free.  Ben has been a huge fan of train travel since being in Europe and South America and our friends, Jim and Jenn, had advised that trains are the best way to travel inside China.  I should add that airplane travel is also a good option, quite inexpensive, and easy to book at a short notice.  However, we had enough time to enjoy travel by train.  In addition to being less expensive than air travel, a reservation on an overnight train saves the expense of a hotel.   

If you are traveling this way, please be aware that booking a train ticket in advance may be necessary due to the popularity of this means of transit, especially during holidays.  Definitely talk to a local person and take their advice.  I won’t go into that in detail here, but if you find yourself heading to China, let me know.

AND--just as we were leaving, I met 3 more members of Xi'an's Deaf Community! 
These friendly young women work at the train station. 

I’ll let the photos tell the story…our cabin had 4 bunks, ample storage for our bags, clean linens, a TV (which our cabin mates, a middle aged Chinese couple, thankfully muted), a little table (complete with a vase and silk rose J).  Each train car has restrooms, sinks, hot water dispensers, electrical outlets and seats in the hallway in case you want to leave your cabin.  I can’t say enough about how comfortable, clean and modern this train was.  I am sure that all trains aren’t in the same condition, but all the other trains we rode on in China were equally as impressive. 

We boarded at 6:30 pm and arrived in Beijing 12 hours later!  I was surprised at how well we slept.  We de-trained, into the Beijing morning rush hour…and that’s another post.

The front of the train station in Beijing.

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