Saturday, January 13, 2007

Harbin to Beijing ( 哈尔滨 - 北京 )

Well I traveled on the overnight train from Harbin. I had decided to travel soft sleeper. For those of you who are confused by this, in China is was politically unwise for class reasons, to have separate classes for the wealthy and powerful while everyone else had to travel in cattle class. So on Chinese trains, there is soft sleeper and hard sleeper. Soft sleeper is first class. There are 4 beds to a cabin. Hard sleeper is second class there are 6 sleepers to a section and no doors or walls (apart from between the beds). Normally in China I have traveled hard sleeper. However, I had decided as I had some expensive equipment with me to travel soft sleeper. So I ordered my bed at the station when booking my ticket. I took a lower bunk. In the future I think I will travel on the upper bunk.

Arriving at the station, I spent a while waiting for the train. In the end I got on the train. The train was full of first class carriages, and there were many of them (at least 10) and there were black Mercedes arriving on the platform, to allow their occupants off onto the train while only having to walk less than 5 meters. This is not a side of China I normally see. I shared my compartment with three very smartly dressed business women. There was a man who spoke English. We had a short conversation and then he left the train. So I was on my own from a language point of view. It is good to see that the Chinese do not have the same sexist hangups that many Australians have about mixed traveling. I would strike this bias in a few days from the Americans.

The train even had a power point (220 V Australian style) and each bed had it's own TV and we each had a pair of head sets. When browsing the dozen channels, I came across a movie with Americans singing. I though - great, a movie in English. However, it turned out that only the singing was not dubbed. Everything else was dubbed.

The next day after a very smooth trip, I arrived in Beijing in the morning.

Harbin Railway Station

No comments: