Tuesday 17th May 2011
13 days left traveling the world.
MP3 track of the day: Moonriver - Andy Williams
Weather: The sun was shinning though the window though, being stuck within a train carriage, I had no idea what the temperature was like.
At around midnight the train stopped and my carriage became full; I didn't see who'd disturbed my sleep as I kept my eye mask on. I knew that they were both male, from the sound of their voices, and both chatted before heading to sleep. I'm not sure what was worse, the sound of them chatting or the snoring that came after but either way the night wasn't as peaceful as I'd hoped.
I woke around 7:30am, cursing my ear plugs for not fully blocking out the droning that came from above. The cabin was completely black; at first I'd wondered if I'd left my eye mask on but, as I prodded my own eye, I realised that I hadn't. All became clear a minute later when the train exited a tunnel; I remember now, we must be at the point within the journey of the 'never ending tunnels'. All three of my cabin mates were still asleep and one was snoring; with the mornings sun coming and going with every passing tunnel, I switched on my spot light and began to read about Julius whilst eating breakfast. It wasn't long before the others were up and they too eat their food. Once again noise erupted as they threw noodles down their throats. Talking, snoring or eating … I couldn't decide which sound I hated the most. I opened my laptop and resumed the work I'd started yesterday.
The day fell into a mixture of reading my book, working on my blogs and looking at the view outside, depending on which type of entertainment took my fancy at the time. It was around 1pm when the familiar, smoggy, look of Chengdu came into view and I was glad that I was staying on the train. Two hours later and I found myself bored of reading, blogging or staring at the smog. I decided to take my 'learn how to play Chinese Chess' book, and board, out of my bag to run through some moves. Like a moth to a flame the Chinese bloke opposite me sat up and stared at the board; I hadn't even set-up all the pieces when he intervened and indicated that he wanted to play. We had time for two games before he departed the train; he beat me on both occasions but it didn't stop me enjoying it. He played very well, forcing me to make re-active moves instead of pressing on with my attack. After he 'check-mated' me for the final time we both sat back; the game had broken the ice between us but, sadly, his stop had arrived. He said goodbye and left ... only to be replaced by a nutter.
My hope of having my own carriage was dashed in seconds as a young Chinese lad, with an annoying smile, sat opposite me. At first he seemed normal; he'd ask the usual 'where are you from?' question which, it seems, every Chinese person knows how to say in English. Then he started talking to me in Chinese; whatever he was talking about seemed a passion of his and I sat their nodding trying not to laugh. He would say something and I'd say 'yes'; he'd say it again and use his hands to reinforce his message … I'd say 'yes' and my smile would widen. This process would repeat for a third time when he would finish with 'okay?' and a cheesy grin; in return I'd frown and give a short, sharp 'no'. I wish he would just leave me alone so I could finish my book, the battle for Rome was imminent and he wouldn't shut up. I gave every indication that I wasn't interested in whatever he was trying to say and, finally, he got out his pair of slippers and left the cabin. He returned quicker than I'd hoped and, as I glanced down at his slippers, I noticed that they were bright pink. 'Oh my God he's gay and a nutter' I thought to myself. Eventually he shut up and I managed to finish my book; he asked to investigate my boots which I agreed to (though I'd kill him if he took them) before I went for an early night. The train arrives within Xi'an at 5am … I need to be up early.
So the end of another week has come; I haven't got anything new to report apart from I'm loving Chinese chess and that my average spend has fallen to £28.66 per day. Tomorrow I'll hopefully arrive in Luoyang around 1pm where I'll check into my hostel and try to get information on visiting the Shaolin Temple the day after. Kung-Fu here I come!