The train from Chengdu…

…so I board the train. This would be a train ride like no other.
Normally I get the top bunk of the three. I just assumed that’s where I belong. Not this time. I asked a friendly looking father of one if I was up or down. Down. Wow that’s a real change. So I assume the bottom position. Every else climbs to their appropriate spots. I helped a woman in her 30’s or 40’s put a suitcase under the bed. The train starts rolling. Evening number one rolls around… I had been napping peacefully and decide I should wake up and eat some instant noodles that I brought. So I’m eating the noodles and the woman strikes up a conversation with me… partly because I’m a 老外, partly because she is sitting on my bed (*Note* in China, the bottom bunk is communal space during daylight hours. It is not only your civic duty to provide unhindered sitting space, but also your pleasure.) We chat it up a bit, I tell her I teach and I think that was about the end of our little talk. Ok, so I read a bit more and then hit the hay. Everything goes well, except the next morning I wake up at 6:30am to some Chinese man from the top bunk sitting at the end of my bed. My first urge is to kick him, but for some reason I didn’t. Grrr… I wanted to sleep in. So I kinda just roll over and deal with it, at this point I can still stretch fully out. Right, so the morning drags along, I finally get up and move my bedding to one area so everyone else can sit down. In the afternoon, my alarm clock Man is sitting on my bed along with the lady. So they get chatting and then soon involve me. So I retold my story and soon we were discussing other things too. At the end of the debacle (which soon include several other train members listening in), the woman proudly said, “He teaches our children.” in an almost proud and gloating and declarative way. Great… Oh by the end of the trip, I loved the alarm clock man. Actually if you’ve seen the movie Kung Fu Hustle, he looks like a character from there… definitely from the south of China. He had a face that looked like he had been through the thick of it… not quit disfigured, very worn. He was wearing a ‘wife beater’ shirt, with a nice pair of slacks and respectable shoes. He ended up buying cherry tomatoes for everyone and a beer for him and myself. I happily obliged. Oh I forgot, the previous evening or that afternoon, I forget which, but the family man gave me some Congee to snack on. I’m glad he did, it’s one of my new favorite foods. Anyway, if you take a train in China, people take care of you and are pretty friend I’ve found.
Ah right… so I deboarded Nanjing at about 2am after my 30 plus train ride. I grabbed a van like thingy and chatted with the guy… it wasn’t extremely expensive so it was worth it because of the roominess. Oh so I had planned to catch a bus to Hangzhou in the morning but being that it was 2am and nothing was open I went home. I asked the driver where I should go and he told me the one right next to the train station… I should have listened…
So I went home, kinda spaced out and watched some kind of football game for an hour and then realized I should take a shower. By the time I was done, it was 3:30am and I decided I should go look for the bus station so I could get there early… I walked by my local Internet Bar and the place was happening!!! All the computers were filled with people, I couldn’t believe it. Even the street outside was hustling… vendors selling food. Apparently in Nanjing I’ve come to find out that most people nap during the day because it’s so hot and then are active once it cools down.So anyway,I walked to the first one that I thought was right near my house… nope, it’s a big government building now. Then I decide, heck, I’ll just try the other place my student from Beijing told me about (she looked it up online the previous day). So I go back home and get my stuff… it’s about 5am now…I go back home, grab my slightly unpacked bag and hail a cab… So I get in the cab and think I tell him the bus station… we’re zipping along the street, covertly running red lights since no one is out yet, and finally we stop for one… then some chinese man asks me (my window is rolled down) if I’m going to the airport… so then (because I kinda thought we were going the wrong way) I asked the driver (after another minute of driving) if we were going to the bus station. He gets a grim look on his face and we pull a U – ee and head back into town. He drops me off (I only have to pay 10 kuai because he’s really nice, and I think the first customer of the week you have to give a good deal, otherwise you’ll be unlucky) but after I go inside I find out that this bus station doesn’t service Hangzhou!!! Doh! So I grab another cab and head to the station the driver that took me home at 2am told me to go to. I get there… no problem… even by my ticket, no problem. It’s about 5:55am at this time and I go into the station and look for my bus… but I can’t find the right bus gate… Grrr… so I ask someone finally where it is and they kinda tell me but it takes asking 3 different people before I find it. I look at my ticket and the bus leaves at 6am and it’s 6am right now! Oh now… so basically I go outside and find the bus… I get on it, it’s a nice one… a/c and everything… a real tour bus. So I settle in for my 3 hour ride to Hangzhou… a little journal writing and then a mini nap…

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