Scenes from a Hard Seat

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Now that I have a blog that will let me do photos (hoorah!), I thought I’d better share some…here are some moments from the various long-distance train journeys I took across China last year.  Seats are sold in classes which date back to Communist times, when only top cadres could travel in the [exceptionally relative] luxury of the ‘soft sleeper’. Classes are as follows: standing room only, hard seat, hard sleeper or soft sleeper. ‘Standing room only’ should really read ‘as many people as possible crammed in inventive ways into a hard sleeper carriage’ and ‘soft sleeper’ should read ‘slightly overpriced hard sleeper’; the others are exactly what they sound like. A few of these were taken on a 24-hour ride through the Taklamakan desert when in a moment of overwhelmingly bad timing I managed to contract perhaps the worst food poisoning of my life. This coincided with the air conditioning (read: slow-moving fans) on board breaking down completely.

Now that I have a blog that will let me do photos (hoorah!), I thought I’d better share some…here are some moments from the various long-distance train journeys I took across China last year.  Seats are sold in classes which date back to Communist times, when only top cadres could travel in the [exceptionally relative] luxury of the ‘soft sleeper’. Classes are as follows: standing room only, hard seat, hard sleeper or soft sleeper. ‘Standing room only’ should really read ‘as many people as possible crammed in inventive ways into a hard sleeper carriage’ and ‘soft sleeper’ should read ‘slightly overpriced hard sleeper’; the others are exactly what they sound like. A few of these were taken on a 24-hour ride through the Taklamakan desert when in a moment of overwhelmingly bad timing I managed to contract perhaps the worst food poisoning of my life. This coincided with the air conditioning (read: slow-moving fans) on board breaking down completely. Others are from journeys of between 12 and 36 hours around Sichuan, Yunnan and Guangdong provinces.



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