IV – Riding a train for 23 hours. Challenge ACCEPTED!!

Since I am on a tight budget, I decided to go by train to Beijing (almost 3000km North from Hong Kong), and to buy an “upper hard sleeper” ticket. Translation: in a cabin of 6 beds with hard mattresses, I get the 3rd bed near the roof…The woman who sold me the ticket kept telling me something like “head no good for you”, I couldn’t quite understand her, so I just smiled and said it’s OK…

As I stepped in the train, I got it…if you take the upper bed, you can’t literally sit on your bed…otherwise you just bump your head (hummm…head no good for you…go it!!) And since I am quite tall, it really didn’t help!! so I could basically either lied down completely…or stand in the alleys of the train…

I really had second thoughts after buying my tickets. I was worried that I would be stuck with 5 chinese men, and who knows what might happen then…It’s funny how my brain works, how I always imagine the worse situation ever… In the end, in coach 5, there was only me, a small chinese grandma (who slept and ate during the whole trip…it’s quite amazing what such a small woman can eat!!) and LILLY, a young PhD student in Hong Kong.

Lilly (English given name, couldn’t quite catch her chinese one) was my savior during this long trip. She helped me figuring out how to get on the upper bed (steps can be pulled out of the beds – genius system) and lifted with me my luggage all the way up to my bed (it wasn’t an easy task). She was my translator, my guide in the train, my mother kinda (she actually give me food and hot water – I had only bought some chocolate cookies – for snack, dinner & breakfast – didn’t really think that one through), my entertainer, my life-coach,…

Thanks to her, the trip passed pretty quickly. She was super funny and interested to know everything about my life back in Europe. She was my age, got married young (she asked the eternal questions: why am I not married yet? Is there no nice white men in your country? I should marry a basketball player because I am very tall… I should soon pick one, before I am too old…glurp…no comments). She just turned 30 and was ready to have a baby boy… She had everything planned. It made me think about my life. Honestly I always thought when I reached 30 I’d have a lot more figure out. The great friends and amazing family part is covered, but the rest (work, boyfriend, home sweet home,…) is kinda blurry…

                  23 hours ride train: Challenge achieved!! High five people!!

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