Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Train number 4. Again.

Sorry for the delay on posts. I had a few done on my iPod, but the internet isn't working on it. So I will be re-writing them for your convenience :)

Going back on the train again was a breeze. Tom and I had our ramen noodle soups, some hot chocolate, and knew how to pack our things in our small packs and the rest in the large ones. This time around, we were staying with two guys; one from Germany and one from Croatia, but they both worked in Germany. Having them be the 2nd and 3rd engineers from Germany made it clear to Tom (and myself) that the USA rips off people vacation wise. Germans get around 42 days of vacation a year, the approximate amount if you work 5 days a week, every other week. They were really nice to talk to, (the German slept for most of the trip), but the Croatian had gone through the Yugoslavian war, but it also meant that he spoke Yugoslavian, English, German and Spanish! As he was married to a woman from Spain. Pretty much he made me feel stupid for only knowing French (and not very well at that).

The trip was uneventful. The Mongolian boarder patrol were very nice again, and the Chinese were an in-between of the Russian and Mongolian, not mean but not kind- just strict. The only eventful thing that occured was that I thre up at the Chinese boarder due to my soup - which had too much msg for my body's liking. They closed the toilets at the time, but I was able to grab a bag and make it to the in-between part of the train. The Chinese conductors were very nice and gave me a cup to drink some hot water for my belly. At the boarder, they also gave us free meal tickets for the train the next day, breakfast and lunch.

I was sleep during the free breakfast the next morning, but the boys took advantage of my meal ticket and received an extra egg and something else. tom brought back the bread and jam for me. Lunch was only two hours later, so I didn't mind missing it. By lunch time, I was hungry again.

Lunch consisted of sauteed cabbage with ham, pork meatballs withs auce, and rice. For a free lunch it was pretty decent. We first sat with a guy from Israel, whom we chatted with for a bit, but he was almost done when we sat down and with the full car, he left a bit after he was done. Next two Germans sat with us, and when they recieved their food they were asking in German to themselves if they can get forks and how do they use the chopsticks. Tom being the multi-lingual man he is answered in English that it wasn't too hard and showed them. We chatted with them a bit (they did the full trip from Moscow), but we went back to our car to pack up so we didn't forget anything.

It was when we got to China when things got interesting.

Train tips continued:

Tip 7.
Stomach medicine.
You eat a lot of new and different things while traveling, especially on the road. Thankfully, I brought some Imodium with me, but some Tums would have been nice as well, and they provide calcium which you don't get a lot of during traveling, especially in Russia, when you're getting off and eating the ladies foods, you don't know what in it and you don't want to get stuck at a stop and you need to go number 2.

Tip 8.
Know some polite words in the native language. I had written a few words down while in Russia for China and it was only three I could remember. I will write them here phonetically as i cannot recall how to spell them and also you will know how to say them too. Shea shea-thank you. Knee how- Hello. Gambay- bottom's up (finish your drink). knowing thank you was helpful, especially when the conductors helped me when I was sick.

Tip 9.
Be open to meeting new people.
The train is a great way to socialize and network. I didn't network as well as I could have, but I think from all the itching I had, I was self conscious. It's weird to talk to someone who is always scratching or has bumps all over them. I know I would be cautious: pthey could have fleas, bed bugs, or spreadable poison oak or ivy. It's like when people cough a lot, you want to be friendly to them, but you don't want their germs. I was still friendly though, even when I didn't feel like it. Tom was a life saver, and was socializing with everyone. I could par-take in some of the conversation and then leave if I wanted and I didn't feel bad.

So the train trip is over. When we arrived in Beijing, it was Oct 1st, National Day, which is up next.

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