We took the midnight train going anywhere
23.09.2012 - 24.09.2012 24 °C
Day 360: Pingyao, Shanxi to Beijing, China 23/09/2012
Incredible and deflating to think that tonight will be the final journey of the whole trip, with our eight o'clock departure time making for a bit of a nothing day in Pingyao. Where has this year gone? We head out again in the same sort of direction we have taken before and nothing much has changed in this day or so. We even find the same pig asleep in the same position as it was last time we walked through this way. We do, however, find ourselves some new places and new sights to add to the list of the past three hundred odd days, leaving the confines of the city walls and the ancient world and stepping through a portal into a bright, modern part of the city, with a nice water feature. An old man comes to wash his hyperactive, fluffy white dog in the water around the wooden decking walkways, shampooing his pooch before being left stranded as the dog took flight and charged off in any direction it thought necessary. Highly amusing and one made more surreal when the dog jumped back in the water to find it came up only to its knees.
Walking back towards the city gates, we find a two hundred metre red carpet leading up to a twenty foot tall camera found in the middle of a host of international flags. Seems the photography festival we came across was a pretty big deal. We grant several requests for photos and are welcomed to China by a teenage welcoming committee. A bit late but very kind all the same. Walking around the perimeter of the city walls we find ourselves at an open air theatre performance, where a sizeable crowd of locals are gathered to watch an uncomfortably loud and seemingly very violent Chinese rendition of what I guess was Punch and Judy. Fun to watch, but being the only white faces around there is more gawping at us than at the poor actors.
A catch up with the blog and a decent cup of tea before dinner sees us right up to taxi time and we are soon boarding our sleeper carriage. Destination Beijing. A little more uncomfortable than the last train but the ten o'clock lights out rule makes it impossible to see a thing. Not so much fun when sleep doesn't come too easily...