An advice to anyone in China who is planning to travel somewhere with train... Buy your tickets in advance!!!
As I've mentioned I've spend the last weeks working in Shanghai. First I was staying with a friend but then she got visitors and the place got so crowded so I decided I would commute from Suzhou every day. Overall it's been OK, until yesterday when I got myself a fresh reminder of how you really, always, have to buy your train tickets in advance in China... otherwise they will sell out! And that is just what happened yesterday. I was at work in Shanghai, I had a return ticket to Suzhou for the night, but no SZ-SH ticket for the next morning. So I called an agent just to be told... 'no more. All sold out. Only available morning ticket is for a train at 6.30 (!) or 10.40'.... ehum.. well that didn't really work did it? Since I am supposed to be at work at 9.30, and let's face it... 6.30? No way!
So, basically I 'had to' stay in Shanghai for the night. Everything was solvable of course, it's just so damn annoying with those tickets, because u know what... every single night, there are plenty of people standing outside the train station in Shanghai selling tickets. Meaning: there is a huge black market for tix... Meaning: the ticket selling offices must, somehow, let people buy a mass of tickets that they then can sell for themselves.. Ahhhh, this is not the first time this has happened to me (more like, the 20th) but it's as annoying every time.
Because at the same time as you want to plan ahead, hear this: you can only buy your tickets 7-9 days in advance. Great, huh?? NOT! This time restriction can make it hard to plan longer trips, like to go from Shanghai to Beijing.
Anyways, I better get going now, only today and tomo (yeah, working on a Sat, sux huh?? Well, it often happens over here) left of me as an office lady and then I'll go back to the uni and catch up on all the grammar I missed when I was gone...Can't wait! Ehum.