<A>Hard Seats – More Than Just a Pain in the Ass

Written by Dec 19, 2006 11:12
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Beijing – Qingdao
Mode of transport: Train (hard seat)
Cost: 120 RMB
Duration: approx 8 hours

If you have never endured a night on one of the spanking new trains in China, you will never understand what all this fuss is about. After all, the train is air-conditioned and the seats are cushioned. There is a toilet, wash basins and hot water facilities in every carriage.

Eight hours on these so-called ‘hard seats’ did not seem like such a big deal. That was, until the horror began to unfold as we journeyed deeper into the night.

Armed with a tiny blanket a dirty old jacket, Mr. X got himself a first class sleeper on the floor space just by the wash basins outside the common toilet. With a tiny bit of creativity and a great deal of desperation, the floor is always an available option. My friend, Mimi, was already on standby just in case Mr. X leaves that spot. Get in line, people.

0200 hrs:
Lady Y made a beeline for the toilet with baby in arms. Toilet was locked. Lady panicked. She looked around. Basins. Sleeping man on the floor. Emergency exit.

Ding! A decision was made. Emergency exit it is. She lowered the baby to the ground and proceeded to answer nature’s call with a soothing “shh…shh…” sound. And right there, just inches from away from the snoozing Mr. X, baby Z let out a golden stream of infant pee by the emergency sliding door.

0610 hrs:
Good morning, China!

A time when all healthy Chinese citizens emerge for a good washing up at the common wash basins. Mr. X gets the privilege of being the first to start this routine. “Khaaaaak…ptui!” And the music begins…

 More Qingdao Travel Reviews
1. Following Rita Li to Laoshan MISHEN from NZ Oct 10, 2006 09:10
2. Crabbing anyone? DUNC from CN Jan 4, 2005 20:01
3. My Trip 3-28-2004 WATERLILY Apr 13, 2004 08:04
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