Sweet Dreams on a Sleeper Train

As one of our means of transportation, we decided upon the passenger railway through the People’s Republic of China. In short, we took a train from Hong Kong to Shanghai: twenty hours in a hard sleeper. We were informed when we purchased our tickets five days prior that we could not acquire the private ensuite soft sleeper we were desperate to procure. Instead, we were presented tiny compartments with no doors, six people to a ‘room’, three beds high on each wall and to top it all off, Summer and I could not be in the same room. Lovely. We arrived in the nick of time and begged a fellow steerage passenger to switch with us (about to plead separation anxiety or insanity) and luckily, she spoke English and obliged. Our angel! Of course we landed the top bunks—which ended being a blessing in disguise, since the Asian family of four below us were loud, ate constantly, didn’t speak a lick of English, and eyed us mockingly as we awkwardly climbed up the three small hooks, a feat they could never have managed. We couldn’t sit up without knocking our heads on the low ceiling.  We laughed for a few short seconds and then ran to the dining cart (or lack thereof) to get beers… and a very strange meal that somehow consisted of pork flavored chips. Yummy. To be perfectly honest, it really wasn’t that bad at all. We were awake for the first six hours, reading, writing, and drinking our stash of beers in our little lofted nook. We then proceeded to pass out for 12 hours straight, minus the 4am fight our downstairs neighbors were having at the top of their lungs in Mandarin. Rude. We had to shush them and show them the appropriate way to utilize the term ‘inside voices.’ Other than this little mishap, we were actually happy to have saved the money. We untaped the scarf we had constructed as a light blocker since ‘lights out’ apparently isn’t an abided by rule on the railway. When we woke up, we had only one meager hour left of the journey. We now consider ourselves professionals on the public transportation spectrum, and should be consulted if anyone needs advice on such matters. Fifth class steerage and angry Asian families don’t intimidate us in the slightest any longer.

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One response to “Sweet Dreams on a Sleeper Train

  1. Great blog post Kaela! As you know, I was also on this train too and, coincidentally, had the top bunk. But in my case, being a short Asian man allowed me to have a very comfortable journey ha!

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