The Train, part 1

I slept on a train last night. Ok, actually, I slept
on a train the night before as well. No, I’m not trying to
experience life as a traveling hobo. I went by train (about a
15 hour trip) to Shenyang, China. In a regular sleeping car, there
are about 10 “rooms.” These rooms are actually more like
cubicles open to an aisle that runs the length of the car.
Each “room” has 6 narrow berths, stacked three high on either
side. There is a bathroom (actually a squatty-potty, which
requires great skill on a moving, bouncing train) located at the
end of the car. My friends and I had one bottom and two middle
berths for the night. During waking hours, we crowded onto
the bottom bunk (the only bed with enough head space to actually
sit upright) and ate the dinner we had brought along with us.
As the evening wore on, we were able to claim seats in the narrow
aisle. If we turned just right, people and food carts could
pass without tripping over us. Around 9pm, the stewardess
directed us to our beds and by 9:30, the lights were out. Sleeping
on a train isn’t the most comfortable, but having a bed is so much
better than having to sleep in a chair. The beds are softer
than the floor and long enough to stretch out on. There were
a few times during the night that “shocks” would have been nice. It
is part of the steward’s job to put us to bed and to act as an
alarm clock in the morning. They open the curtain covering
the lone window and that signals the wake-up call. A little
later, music plays to stir any sleepyheads still in bed. I’m and
early riser and I sat in the aisle watching a few rebels pull
blankets over their heads in protest. The vendors were back in the
aisle calling out to would be customers, confirming that the day
has indeed started, and all before 7 am, still several hours from
our destination.

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