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china Travel

38 HOURS BY TRAIN

I had lunch with some white tourists in a Chinese restaurant I didn’t like, they had very different preferences from mine – they asked for things that aren’t appetizing like a corn-only dish. I record here my complaint, because it is common for Chinese meals to be served to share among those who are at the table, ordering varied dishes from the endless Chinese menu. I myself do not know everything, nor would it be possible to know all the dishes of Chinese cuisine, with so many dishes and regional variations. The famous fried noodles has a hundred different preparations, varying from place to place, or according to the cook.

Flávio, me and the group of English and Welsh, who were going as tourists and volunteers to Ürümqi, as teachers in an English Camp for children, we all set out together from the condo in the afternoon. This trip was already scheduled with Flávio from Brazil. The security guard of the condominium implied because of the backpacks and bags saying that had to have authorization to remove material. Sometimes I still forget that I’m in an extremely communist country. Well, we just ignored him.

Xian train station was a mess, nothing compared to the Japan’s organization and cleanliness. There were a lot of people. The Beijing train station might be worse, I didn’t went inside.

From Xian to Ürümqi it was 2,568 km and 38 hours of travel, which left for USD 38. I had nothing to complain about, a millennium ago this stretch took three months of travel in the middle of the desert. On the train there were hundreds of Chinese, and they made a point of leaving everything well dirty, I saw a mother encouraging the baby to urinate right there… in the middle of the wagon aisle!

We were eleven people and we took two compartments, each compartment with six beds, in economy class and without air conditioning.