Sunday, December 19, 2010

all aboard

all aboard

it’s weird being in china because they don’t celebrate christmas, thanksgiving, or halloween, a few of my most favorite holidays. they don’t get a long christmas break or time off of school to go snowboarding everyday, but they do celebrate the national holiday by taking ten days off of work or school in october. we were lucky enough to get a total of eleven days off so we decided to travel all over china…literally. the amount of traveling that we did on our trip is roughly the equivalent of going from california to new york in the united states. we traveled as most asians do and took sleeper trains everywhere. sleeper trains are definitely an adventure but i love them. we left bengbu on tuesday the 28th of september and had to take a short train to nanjing in order to get on a train to guilin. that train ride was about two hours long and our train from nanjing to guilin took approximately 28 hours. we were lucky enough to get “soft sleepers” for this ride. it was a little more expensive but it was worth it. we were so comfortable the whole time. there were four beds in one compartment. we were able to shut the door and have some peace and quiet. we took this time to relax, become closer friends and to get ahead in our reading of the book of mormon.  we all want to finish it again by the time we go home and this train ride was a great opportunity to catch up or get ahead in our reading. it was a very nice, peaceful train ride.

not only did we relax and sleep better than we would have on a hard sleeper but we also ate better. we went to the grocery store before leaving and picked up the essential travel food items: pomelo (a citrus fruit native to southeast asia i’ve been craving it ever since i had it on a sleeper train the last time i visited china), carrots, apples, pears, wheat bread, peanut butter and honey, and oreos.  needless to say, we ate like there was no tomorrow. we took full advantage of the restaurant on the train and took our homemade lunches there to eat. picture if you will, four white American girls on a train in china, carrying their pb&h sanwiches on a paper plate with sliced carrots, an apple, pomelo chunks, and a kit kat for dessert into a very full restaurant car. there wasn’t an open table when we arrived so we had to wait until someone left and they changed the table cloth. every pair of eyes in the car were glued on us and stared until we sat down with our food. we fully enjoyed  our meal and took our time sitting at the table as we planned our adventures in guilin. the waiter kindly motioned us to go back to our compartment because lunch was over and they wanted us to leave. at least he did it kindly.

one of my favorite things about train rides in china, long or short, are the sales people that come around every hour and sell random trinkets. i always think they’re so crazy and wonder if they really make enough money doing it to continue to do so. i found the answer to my question as me and my fellow teachers bought out someone’s supply of random trinkets on our way to nanjing and guilin. we went nuts. ok not totally nuts but we did buy more things than we should have. the trinkets were pretty inexpensive and they are things that i know my little nephews will love…just don’t tell them i bought them on a train and not at the great wall. i’m pathetic, sorry. more to come! 

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