Notes from a bullet - Part Two
· 9:30am – asked for a water, was also then offered a can of Tsingdao. Strongly considered it, but decided 9:30 wasn’t a good time to be downing beers. Maybe if I was at Hawks Nest, but not on the way to a meeting.
· 9:45am – Little reading, and a walk to the dining car. Zero western food options – somehow I resisted the freeze-dried ducks necks, or the ginger pre packaged Chickens feet. I return to my seat, and minutes later the steward starts walking down the carriage, selling popcorn. This is getting weirder, but it reconfirms my suspicion that the Chinese don’t have a respect for having certain foods at certain times. Eat whatever, whenever. That’s the national slogan.
· 9:55am – A few times now, another bullet train has blown past. With a closing speed of over 600km/h, it’s a hell of a jolt. And a massive psyche out. If I was responsible for building a rushed-into-production fast train network, I’d move the trains a little further apart.
· 10:10am – It’s gotten waaaaay smoggier, and we just drove past a nuclear power station. These things are hopefully unrelated.
· 10:14am – I have noticed a weirdo staring at me. This is very unsettling because a) he’s a weirdo, and b) he’s only about a metre in front of me. How long has he been staring? Why won’t he blink? I lower my sunglasses and look at him across the frames, and he looks embarrassed. I return to what I’m doing, and he immediately starts staring again. I turn and tell him to look out the window (this involves much gesturing and arm waving). He gets the message. Minutes later, he moves to another seat. HE COULDN’T RESIST THE URGE TO LOOK AGAIN. I can only surmise that I am too good looking for China’s rail network.
· 10:30am – My carriage has TVs showing Hollywood movies, and you can jack into your chair to listen (in Chinese only). When we got on they were playing “The Expendables” – EXACTLY what one wants to watch at 7am. Now they are playing ‘Unbreakable’: a strange choice because a) this movie isn’t that famous and b) it starts with a MASSIVE TRAIN DERAILMENT. Imagine watching ‘Snakes on a Plane’ on a plane. Equally retarded. Actually, this is way more retarded
· 11:30am – Ok, FULL DISCLOSURE: I fell asleep. The train is extremely quiet and the movement rocks you into a stupor. I can now confirm that I can sleep easily on planes, trains and in automobiles. SIDEBAR: why do we get on planes and trains, but into cars? Sample dialogue:
I slept on the plane.
I slept on the train.
I slept in the car.
· 12:15pm – Turns out the outskirts of Shanghai look just like the outskirts of Beijing. And Hong Kong. PATTERN EMERGING.
· 12:23pm – I arrive, safe and sound. If they get around to making the WiFi work and they serve a little western food, I’ll train down and back from now on. That being said, I’m hoping for a speedy flight home tonight. I can’t believe I came all this way for one damn meeting.