Brad Pitt spent 7 years in Tibet. I spent 47 hours on a train getting there. Thus, I feel like we have gone through the same journey and are effectively the same person. I’m just waiting for Angelina Jolie to jump out of the cupboard and tell me I’m married to her, and then I’ll be quite content to die thereafter. All my life goals would have been met!
This train trip has been long. Hells bells. Flying would have made more sense but at $2000 for a return ticket, it was never going to happen. If it weren’t for the ridiculous Chinese visa I have, I would have headed to Tibet directly from Kunming as it is geographically closer, but alas, the visa saw me exiting China at that point only to return a week later. Anyway, I’m not bitching about that. I am sure the Chinese embassy has a reason for this totally nonsensical, idiotic requirement. The reason probably makes sense only to them, however. In fact, you could use that logic for most of China.
I’m sharing my train cabin with 3 Chinese ladies, 2 of which (whom I refer to as the aunties) are loud as fuck. They’re quite sweet though, they must be really good friends or related in some way. Instead of sleeping in their respective beds, they sleep head to toe in one small bunk bed so they can chat to each other. This is sweet,unless it’s 2am and they’re screeching away. I can totally see how good hearted people such as myself are driven to murder. I mean their faces can’t be more than 20 centimeters away from each other but you’d swear they were trying to communicate to each other in the middle of a rock concert.
Their redeeming feature is they have brought so much food with them and share all of it. This is great because all I brought with me was a packet of Oreos for the 47 hours and I finished them before boarding the train! This boggles my mind, because in a country where there are food stores and food sellers every 3 feet, you can not even buy a sodding packet of chips on this train.
The other lady is really cool. She speaks excellent English, lives in Shanghai and works for a large German car manufacturer. She is scary smart and I’ve had some seriously great conversations with her.
My focus areas for the 47 hours on this godforsaken mode of transport included:
- Avoiding the toilet. That’s fine- I smashed a box of Immodium and won’t be needing to go for at least the next 3 days.
- Continue to smile and wave when the aunties talk to me in Mandarin, thus ensuring my food supply.
- Keep warm. The air conditioner in this carriage was stuck on the Arctic setting.
- Find Angelina.
I succeeded in the first three. Angelina is playing hard to get. Little does she know I’ve been waiting for her for 31 years, a few more hours won’t hurt 🙂