Round the World Trip 2005 travel blog

The first 7 hours of that train journey was absolute hell, and I'm not exaggerating. Our tickets only allowed us to board the train - the plan was to buy an upgrade once we were on to a hard seat or a hard sleeper. We had to be pushed onto the train by the guard because it was so packed with people and luggage -train had come all the way from Shanghai - a 60 hour journey, and we couldn't get any further than 2 metres away from the door, so we put our packs down and had to stand, while people climbed through to go down the carriages. After about an hour, we sat on our bags, not the comfiest of seats, and had nothing to lean on. There were limbs everywhere, with people standing, kneeling and sitting anywhere they could. After about 3 hours we were sitting amongst the plastic water bottles, food scraps and people's spit, with 3 foot long demon rats running around*.

Everyone was contorted into weird shapes in order to try and lean against something to get some sleep, and I ended up sitting on some random chinese person's bag with his leg behind my back and Nico stretching out his legs underneath mine. Every few hours, we'd stop at a small station, and because we were by the door we'd have to squash right up on the other side with all of the luggage just so they could get enough space to open the door, and after 20 minutes of this the door would close and we'd have to rearrange all the bags again. At about 2 AM, we had had enough, and Nico went on a massive mission to the other end of the train - having to climb over all the bodies in the aisles and push through throngs of people, and eventually he managed to get to a guard, and upgrade our tickets to hard-sleepers, it took him another 20 mins to get back to me, and due to the amount of people in the carriages there was no way we were gonna get our packs down the aisles, so took all the valuables out of our bag and left them in our carriages and went down to our sleeper carriage - it was like a palace compared to before!

After that, the hours just flew by, and we arrived in Kunming at about 1 pm the next day. Today we went to the Stone Forest at Shilin, basically just huge rock formations sticking out of the ground, it was pretty amazing.

Tonight we catch a sleeper bus to Dali (no connection to Salvador), where hopefully we'll be able to relax for a few days, before setting off to Chongqing, where we are gonna catch a boat down the Yangtse river.


*This may or may not be a huge exaggeration, though I wouldn't have been surprised if there were rodents/monsters on board.

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