Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Train Ride

Train Ride –
Beijing train station was crowded with Chinese going about their normal activities (along with a few tourists). There were farmers carrying burlap bags over their shoulders, as well as mothers with their child. Kind of an orderly chaos as streams of people moved thru security checks and escalators moving toward their designated staging areas. Luckily, we had reserved “soft seats” and as result had a special waiting area. Our compartment on train was pretty comfortable. Two lower and two upper bunks – with two assigned to each compartment. We ended up with a party in my room as we had a few drinks and visited. We also invited our guide to take our top bunk instead of sharing with total strangers down the train. Was alittle hard getting to sleep, but eventually I got to sleep. I woke up early and enjoyed watching out the window with the sun rising – the mountains and farms began to be visible as we rolled along. Watching out I was able to see old crumbling homesteads. Villages, farmland and caves that’s were dug into the mountain sides. The fields had yellow blossoms I was to learn were rapeseed. Also went past some more industrial areas - power plants and more housing along the train stations. Some of the housing looked like hutong’s in Beijing – and there were a 6-10 floor residential buildings as well. Between these areas were wide concrete paved paths. As morning continued, saw joggers. Students going to school and others going to work. There were also a few modern looking interstate roads.

As we got closer to Xian, housing and industry began to get more congested. Upon arrival at train station, we were intermingled with locals. We walked along the outside of the city wall – separated by the moat. Along the wall were paths and also exercise equipment stations that many people were using.

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