Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Friday, February 12, 2010

Yellow Cows 

Lincoln's birthday. Nothing more about that--just happened to think of it. Night is fading. The gray haze of dawn is preparing for the sun to come up over Hunan Province.

Michael managed to get soft sleeper tickets, which is really hard to do at this busy travel season just before New Year. The lunar New Year falls on February 14th this year, and, as always, it is virtually impossible to get tickets. Michael had talked about getting tickets from a yellow cow, but I told Michael that if God is in this, we will not need to get tickets from yellow cow, and if God is not in this, I don't want to go.

The contact that Dr. Sun gave me sent me a text message saying that he would be available all next week. That's good news, because most people are tied up with their families in the days right after the (Chinese) new year.

Michael, one of his former classmates, and I boarded the train yesterday afternoon. The dining car was packed last night, because people who didn't have a seat were coming into the dining car to sit down. Usually they don't let them do that, but the guy in charge was quite definite in telling us that there was no place for us because people with no seats needed a place to sit. Strange. It looked for all the world like somebody was paying somebody a really large tip.

But many of those people have left the train by now. We are sailing through Hunan Province, and we will be in Kaili (near Guiyang) about 7 this evening.

There are four kinds of train tickets in China. Soft sleeper, hard sleeper, soft seat and hard seat. Actually five, because after they have sold all the hard seat tickets, they sell a certain number of no seat tickets for each car. This is the main reason I hate riding the hard seats for any distance. The cars are packed to the gills. You literally cannot move. It's really quite unpleasant, as I have detailed previously.

But the soft sleepers are nice. Definitely the best train ride for the prlce anywhere in the world, I think. Not opulence, mind you, but quite comfortable, quiet, and not crowded.

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