Another train journey. Slight decrease in duration. Slight increase in price. Huge increase in comfort.
16.09.2012 - 17.09.2012 27 °C
Day 353: Chengdu, Sichuan - Xi'an, Shanxi 16/09/2012
A nice relaxed start to the day, with a lie in and a spot of reading before showering and donning the backpacks for the three hundred and fifteen thousand eight hundred and twenty eighth time of the trip. After hailing a cab (easier said than done on a Sunday morning) we are through the ridiculously busy roads of Chengdu and to the station. Forty minutes after leaving we arrive at the station with a bit of a rush on our hands. G runs to grab a lunch of a Chinese colonel's recipe of eight secret herbs and spices and we are running to the train with seconds to spare despite our sensibly early start to the day. Sweating quite disgustingly, we settle into our six bed berth and meet our neighbours for the next fourteen hours - two middle aged men and an elderly couple, who all already seem quite matey.
The sleeper carriage is infinitely quieter and more comfortable than the hard seat carriage we endured enjoyed on our last trip on the Chinese railways. After being befriended by our bedfellows, we are bullied quite forcibly into sharing their food and drink, with the pork ribs and the 52% rice whisky being particularly memorable consumable gifts. As the evening and the journey wear on, we make more and more friends in the carriage, befriending a trainee pilot and a number of younger English speaking passengers. Soon on the top bunk and drift off thinking the ribs were maybe a step too far...