Come on ride the train…

Boarding the train on our trip to Guilin.

I’ve mentioned in my Current Loves section at the top of this blog that I am currently, utterly in love with train travel in China.  

So, when the flight times to Guilin proved inconvenient this past weekend, we decided to get ourselves a soft sleeper and “rough” the five hours coasting past beautiful scenery and enjoying one another’s company in our private cabin.  

See, while I’m into train travel in China, I realize how fortunate I am to be able to afford to travel in comfort, rather than the typical experience for the average Chinese traveler, which can involve hard sleepers, hard seats, or even worse (see this previous post for a heavy dose of that reality).  I’ve been on trains during holiday season, and it’s not pretty.

Chinese passengers on the train.

We shelled out a little extra money to sit on what they call “soft” beds all the way to Guilin and back, and it was quite pleasant.

So, what exactly do you do on a five-hour train ride?

1.  Admire the scenery, punctuated by lots of oohs and ahhs and take thousands (ok, tens) of photos that your meticulous husband will later subject to his extra critical eye, and delete all but two, one of which he, himself, took!

This is the one that I took!

2.  Play cards, of course!  Euchre and Monopoly Deal were the two staples of this trip.

Playing euchre on the train.

3.  Eat instant noodles!  Chinese trains have boiling water on board, which means most people go the instant noodle route.  We also snacked on sunflower seeds, oreos, almonds, raisins, and granola bars, but I’ve seen Chinese passengers bring a wide variety of fruits (my friends actually cut up a watermelon on board on one trip!), zongzi (glutinous rice with meat stuffed in reed or bamboo leaves), salty eggs, and all sorts of dried meats.  Instant noodles was the most Chinese we got in the food department for the train ride, though.

Pouring boiling water into the noodles using the thermos in the cabin.

4.  Giggle with good friends.  The time passed so quickly in the company of friends we hadn’t seen in far too long.  Here they are on the train ride home, and still smiling!

Our friends on the first trip to China!

What are some of your favorite travel memories, and why??

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