One way ticket to a sleepless night

Trip Start Mar 27, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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On a train
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Lots of hills and people

Flag of China  , Guangdong Sheng,
Monday, April 9, 2012

This entry is about a train from hell. 

Not quite literally, but hopefully, I'll try and sum up probably the WORST train journey we've ever had. Maybe I should point out that first, considering all the circumstances, it wasn't that bad. However, I wish to make a bold statement that will definitely come back and haunt me as soon as we get home; I won't complain about the British train system again. (To clarify, it's still pretty appalling in comparison to the rest of Europe, but hey I'm trying keep positive).

As we've stated before, we're on our way from Shanghai to Hong Kong. The only way we could get there was train to Shenzhen; one of the richest cities in China (and as you can see on the map) quite literally on the border to Hong Kong. Not bad, I suppose. But here's the juicy part. We're on hard seats. Not too bad, you would think, even the word bearable came into our description. But oh no, this is a 19 hour train journey. 

We kept in good spirits about it though. What's the point in being miserable about the inevitable? And that was the case even when we got on the train at Shanghai South. The city was great, but we got all that we needed to out of it in the last few days and we were ready to see the big HK. The seats were a little cramped, and there was no recline. Oh well, one can dream. That was fine and so was the vast amount of people on the train. And then we started moving.

4 hours in, we're fine and happy. It's nice to see a glimpse of China from the seats.
6 hours in we're still ok, but concerned that a lot of people have been standing up for a long time, and not getting off. Are these people like this all the way?
8 hours in, we start to get a little bothered. We talk to the only Chinese man who probably knows English on the train. His name is John and he tells us he's also going to Shenzhen, and he is one of those many people that is standing for the whole trip. Mother of god, do we feel sorry for them
9 hours in, we read a lot of our books and the people opposite us try and speak to us in Mandarin. I dive for the phrasebook and point to the phrase; "I'm sorry, I don't know any mandarin" and I think he laughs, and still speaks to us, which makes me nervous. He offers what I can only describe as a spicy beef jerky, and it's not too bad, but after the second slice, I don't think I can handle it. He then gives us two oranges. Result. 

And now comes the hard part. For the next ten hours, we're all trying to sleep and it's quite simply impossible with these seats and this amount of noise. We drop off for maybe half and hour or an hour, but that's it. Ah well, nearly half way to go. This train stops a lot, and lets a small amount of people off and on being public transport and all. 

After 19 and a half hours, we finally arrive in Shenzhen. We've only probably had three hours sleep between the two of us. Our situation with the seats has a little perspective though. There's a girl right next to us, and a lot of people around her, who have tickets and no seats. That means they've been standing for the whole 19 and a half hours with no sleep. It's harsh, it makes our journey seem quite bearable, so we find comfort in that

No matter, we're now right at the border. John took his own time to show us where to go, which was nice, and he's now off to work. Getting through the border is a walk over a river; and that's a lot less than we expected. We got to the hostel and soon had a walk around the city, and it's great. I think we're going to enjoy this place more than Shanghai, but that's only at first glance. 

Next time, we'll tell you all about the city, and more importantly the dim sum.
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Helen on

An actual lol about your joy for the two oranges. Also heart Lauren's sandals

Carly on

I definitely didnt read this at work and I definitely didnt laugh out loud. Keep these posts coming I love 'em :) xxx

linda on

I was sooo looking forward to a picture of john!! What a let down when i got to the photos and he was nowhere to be seen!

Stuart on

Just read all ur blog posts and looked through the pictures, looks like u guys are having a great time (cept for that train journey). Looking forward to further posts.

Add us to the mailing list Adam -

Now back to my 10,000 word dissertation, joy.

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