Another Long Train Journey

Trip Start Aug 25, 2010
Trip End Jun 29, 2011

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Where I stayed
Maitian International Youth Hostel

Flag of China  , Xinjiang Uygur Zizhiqu,
Thursday, June 23, 2011

We left Dunhuang at 7am in a taxi that took us an hour and a half north to the city of Liuyuan where our train left for Urumqi.  For the first time ever, our train was delayed and we had to wait a total of two and a half hours at the train station.

We finally boarded our hard-sleeper carriage and spent 11 hours reading, listening to our iPods, and napping.  Sam made friends with two young Chinese men who are from rural Xinjiang province but work in Beijing.  The train journey from Beijing to Urumqi is 42 hours and the two young men had been aboard the whole time. 

Near the end of our journey, our train had to stop for an hour and wait for a sandstorm to pass.  It wasn't fun to wait, especially on a long journey (with several loud children under the age of five), but as I told Sam, it wouldn't be the desert without a sand storm.

We finally arrived in the Uighur Muslim city of Urumqi a little after 10pm, and it was still bright out.  We made our way to our hostel, checked in, ravaged a nearby convenience store since we hadn't had dinner, and ate in our hostel's lounge before going to bed at either 1am or 11pm, depending on who you ask.  The Chinese in Urumqi go by official Beijing time, but the native Uighurs go by Xinjiang time, which is two hours behind Beijing time and makes the late sunsets a little easier to live with.

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