Scenes from a Hard Seat

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Now that I have a blog that will let me do photos (hoorah!), I thought I’d better share some…here are some moments from the various long-distance train journeys I took across China last year.  Seats are sold in classes which date back to Communist times, when only top cadres could travel in the [exceptionally relative] luxury of the ‘soft sleeper’. Classes are as follows: standing room only, hard seat, hard sleeper or soft sleeper. 'Standing room only’ should really read 'as many people as possible crammed in inventive ways into a hard sleeper carriage’ and 'soft sleeper’ should read 'slightly overpriced hard sleeper’; the others are exactly what they sound like. A few of these were taken on a 24-hour ride through the Taklamakan desert when in a moment of overwhelmingly bad timing I managed to contract perhaps the worst food poisoning of my life. This coincided with the air conditioning (read: slow-moving fans) on board breaking down completely. Others are from journeys of between 12 and 36 hours around Sichuan, Yunnan and Guangdong provinces.
Wanderings and Ramblings of an ESL teacher currently based in a tiny mountain town near the North Korean border.


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