We got on the train to Beijing at 7am and are going through the outskirts of Gobi Desert. It is half past three and as you can imagine steaming hot and dusty in the cabin. Fortunately this ride only takes 31 hours. I’m already looking forward to the stop at the Mongolian-Chinese border where you can experience the bogie-changes of the wagons.
During that process and the passport check we weren’t allowed to leave the train. In total the stop at the border and on both sides lasts about 4 hours and we were only allowed to get off the train for about half an hour to be buy some daily necessities (beer). As I can only repeat myself this ride was the worst one in terms of our body conditions and the unbearable heat in the wagons. Some French friends of us even fainted during the train ride and had to undergo medical observation afterwards. The happier we were as we eventually arrived in Beijing.
We got out of train withdrew Chinese money, bought SIM-cards for our mobiles and walked to the LEO courtyard hostel which is located close to Qian Men (southwards of Tian’An Men Square) right in the middle of Beijing. It’s a great place to experience the characteristics of the survived still lively Hutongs and dive into Chinese culture and habits. We enjoyed our stay in Beijing although it was my third time there and thus the sights and places we visited were mostly redundant to me. Nevertheless I always accompanied the guys apart from one day when I revisited my colleagues at the office I worked for last summer. In the meantime they went to the summer palace by themselves.
Now, after a week in the capital city of China Martin and me ended up on the train to Shanghai. The three of us had to separate, as there were complications to get three tickets for the same train. Philip didn’t mind though to stay two more nights in Beijing as he has more time in Shanghai than Martin anyways. I’m currently facing the challenge of finding a room for one month in Shanghai. Yesterday and on the train so far I was mainly on the phone digging out old connections to colleagues and friends in SH and crying for help basically.
I eventually found a place to stay though in Jing’An, a fairly central district. It takes me about an hour by public transportation to get to Fudan nevertheless. This Monday my student life here took off again, so future entries might be limited 😉 The basically exiting part of my journey is over anyways (not that SH isn’t exiting). I’m focusing on taking my chinese to the next level during the next three weeks even though having a tax law exam waiting for me as soon as I arrive back to Vienna.
Photos: EXPO 2010