Thursday, 16 June 2011

From Shanghai to Qingdao on the fast train (21st of September)

We had adequately over prepared our imaginations for our standing 'seats' for the 10 hour train ride to Qingdao. Luckily we found small spots to sit on the floor (or on our plastic stool) squished behind the seats in front of us. It was a long and somewhat uncomfortable trip, made better by the consumption of many a 'hawthom' stick. It seemed like a very modern train; a screen at the other end of the carriage displayed it's speed, at times in excess of 200km an hour (Boeing 737s have a take-off speed of about 250km/hr). The Chinese certainly were on the move, lots of them and almost all carrying their little bags of mooncakes. About an hour before we got to Qingdao, in an area of copious polytunnels, some seats began to empty and I sat next to a man who worked for 'Caterpillar'. He had grown up in a small rural village and was the only one in his class to have made it to college and university, he was pleased to have such a well paid job, despite the four hour commute he had to undertake.

Qingdao (Tsingtao), voted in 2009 as China's most liveable city, felt delightfully cold and windy. The station had a distinctly German feel to it, Qingdao once having been a German colony. A fish food like aroma lingered in the busy streets.

During the night the wind howled and I lay awake wondering, if indeed we ever got a ticket, whether the ferry be cancelled in this weather.

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