Dismembered Duck

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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Flag of China  , Qinghai,
Saturday, January 15, 2011

Unfortunately we were joined by the rest of our cabin at 2am. Thinking they were one family – mother, father and cute little boy, we gave them our (more expensive) lower birth, so that they would have more room and could all sit together. Waking up at 10 to see the boy and his dad sitting squashed up on the top bunk while the woman lay stretched out in luxury on the large lower birth we realised our mistake. She turned out to be nothing to do with them, and a spoilt brat to boot! She spent a lot of time shouting on her mobile, whilst the father tested the little boy on his English homework – very sweet.  I really couldn't believe that she didn’t let them come and sit with her at any point in the next 24hrs.

Anyway, we still had my bed to stretch out on all day, and having put some of our ridiculous amount of luggage on the upper birth we spent the day watching the scenery and reading. I finished Wolf Hall – (Don’t know what you were on about Mum, I loved it) and Mikey continued with Shanteram. I’ve never seen him absorbed in a book, and am beginning to believe he might actually finish it! Apart from reading we were entertained by 4 cheeky Tibetan toddlers who kept peeking in at us and shouting something then running away. The rest of the time they were playing in the corridor with their remote control cars and plastic machine guns but weren’t keen to let us have a go. 

The train had reached over 5000m during the night, and we both had headaches on waking and ice had formed on the inside of all the window panes. During the day however it must have begun the descent and we could switch off the oxygen and explore the train feeling fine.  The scenery remained spectacular although very different. Snowy terraced farms flashed by as did huge, bleak mining towns. Prolonged stops at Xining and somewhere else meant we could disembark, get some fresh air and purchase bread and pot noodles. We were desperate for chocolate or crisps, but the Chinese prefer to snack on bags of dried beef or chicken legs/feet instead.

After sleeping all day, the lady opposite us suddenly woke up at 6 and started talking REALLY loudly to the father in our cabin. She also took half a metre of sugar cane out of her bag and troughed it down.  She had obviously decided to be friendly as when we brought in our delicious supper from the trolley she offered us some of what she was eating to accompany it. Looking in the plastic bag she had been storing under the bed, I saw an enormous selection of bizarre looking meat. I took the smallest and least offensive looking piece which I thought might be sausage and Mikey followed suit.

Politely trying them we realised they had a lot of bone, and were in fact 'neck!!!’  Looking over at our travelling companion, she was happily holding a large duck’s heat and enthusiastically sucking the meat out of its beak. She also ate the feet  and legs – whilst we had to hide the rest of the neck under a pile of rice.

After her scrumptious snacks the lady went straight back to sleep for the night leaving the bag of dismembered duck open next to my bed. I slept all night with the rancid smell of warm poultry next to my face – grim! (But also quite funny! Who on earth brings an entire duck chopped up in a plastic bag on a train journey?) Weird.
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Amanda Barnett on

Selfish duck eating lady x

Spigaroo on

Brilliant! And totally reminds me of my similar 'let's bring a maggot infested enormous hunk of cow' incident on a train in Cameroon X

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