Saturday, June 28, 2014

Leaving Beijing by Train to Guilin--6/16-17

The Beijing metro is a breeze compared to the Moscow metro because of the color coded signage, route maps that indicated the direction and stops of all trains. Once on the train there is a lighted map that shows the current stop in green and then as the car goes, the lights flash showing the way to the next metro stop. Each ride costs just 2 RMB----about 35 cents. Too bad the major cities in the US do not have such wonderful and affordable systems. I was using the 2009 edition of the Lonely Planet and they did not have the line 9 on it that got me directly to the Beijing West Train Station. It was built since I was last in Beijing in 2009. I think these major transportation---roads, rails, subways, airports---are much easier and quicker to build here because if the government wants it built, it gets built despite private ownership and environmental issues.

Once past security, I continue looking for my K21 train waiting area and pass a lot of food vendors. There is a Starbucks, but apparently business for this one was not enough and it was shuttered. McDonalds did not have the breakfast specials so I ate at a local buffet. It was more like lunch than breakfast and the cooks were fighting for my attention. Perhaps each cook area earns money for the stuff they sell. It was an awful breakfast filled with fat---I think they like to eat fat and meat with big bones. The meat came with some sort of vegetable that resembled a thin nopolo. The green beans with meat and rice was eatable. At least the Nescafe coffee with cream and sugar was pleasant. The egg omlet/pancake was OK and I took half of it with me to eat on the train.

While in the waiting room, I made the mistake of sitting by the garbage can and the guys would occasionally come over and deposit a noisy hakima followed up by clearing their nostrils with a farmers blow through their noses. Gross. At least they no longer spit on the floor, but just on the train platforms and streets.


Ticket checking begins for my train.


Here is my K21 train to Guilin which should arrive by 12:30 PM. It is about 15 cars long and my car is No.4 and I have the No.1 bottom bed. Lucky me.


I am with a family of 2 grandparents, daughter and one year old baby with the standard split in his pants so he can easily go to the bathroom. Fortunately for the trip he usually is wearing some Pampers.

Lucky me, I have the bottom bunk of 3.


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