Tuesday, April 1, 2008
How a short-distance train ride at night becomes a long one
Try taking a train from Shanghai to Suzhou after 8pm at night, and you’ll be faced with this:
A hard seat at a N-train that will leave at 10.35pm from Shanghai, and arrive in Suzhou around midnight.
Okay, so first of all…: the normal 30 minutes trip will be stretched out to 1.5 hours. I am actually a bit curious to find out what the train is going to do for such a long time on such a short distance? Are there going to be people pushing the train forwards manually, or are we just going to move forward in a snail pace? Is the train going to make a 30 minute long coffee-break stop at Kunshan station? Or are the train drivers understaffed?
Second of all: The only seat left was a hard seat on an already not-so-nice N-train. Who will be my travel companions? I am guessing farmers. Now, will they dislike me and start throwing peanuts at me? Blow smoke in my face? Or are we going to totally bond over a game of mahjong and exchange phone numbers at the end of our journey? After all, we do have 1.5 hours to kill...
And finally: What is the train going to do for 1.5 hours between Shanghai and Suzhou?! SERIOUSLY?!