Saturday, October 15, 2011

Another train ride

You'd think I'd have learned my lesson by now. But no. In my defense I did sign up for the tour back in February and may have forgotten a teeny tiny detail of the train ride from Beijing to Lhasa. Well guys, that's a 45 hour train ride, nonstop. Yep. 45 Fing hours on a train. You're jealous, I can feel it! Hey now, I don't want to hear your defeatist attitude, I wanna hear you up beat! We're screwed! That's better. And it does get better (doesn't it always get better?). Nobody was together, we were all dispersed through several carriages and berths. I shared a 6 bunk berth with 5 Chinese for 2 days, the random white chick hanging with the Asians.
Ok, now that I've griped about things aplenty, in actuality it ended up being fine. Because we were spread out it forced us to mingle with the locals and we had lots of random conversations with other Chinese, who were out on holiday for Golden Week, the national holiday that China celebrates. In fact we developed what we called the the "train family". It was a random group of random Chinese people and us, complete with Mama and the Manager. Someone had to be in charge to make sure we were fed at least every hour. It was Jesse's birthday on the train and we sang him happy birthday and had some sesame seed honey bars. He ended up having happy birthday sung to him in 6 languages, which I thought was kind of cool. We met some Tibetan doctors and monks and a family with a couple of young kids in the seater train section. Can you imagine sitting in a seater car for 2 days straight? Made my cabin look like the four seasons. They all got a kick out of having their picture taken. A couple of the young monk boys played with my phone for a while. It's amazing how quickly they learned to take pictures, flip the view finder around, and make images bigger. You would have thought that they had been iPhone users for years!
The scenery both days was spectacular. The first day it was farm land, hills, trees with leaves changing, and even some sand dunes thrown in.  The following morning dawned with snow dusting the ground and mountains. We past lakes, grazing yaks, and more beautiful mountains.
Finally after boarding the train on September 29th at 8pm in Beijing we arrived on October 1st at 4pm in Lhasa.

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