Wednesday, March 23, 2011

night trains

One great way to travel is via night train. Instead of having a nice evening in a hotel and a stressful journey to your destination, you could have a stressful journey to your destination along with a crappy night in a moving closet.

Of course, the first key to success is to forget the horrendous night traveling through Italy wherein you were verbally assaulted and marched up and down the aisles of a quickly-moving train in your pajamas in the middle of the night, all while your travel companion was being questioned by border police for suspicious connections to a suspected Afghani terrorist. You can also forget that stellar 12-hour train journey through Nevada two years previous where you ended up eating your backpack in desperation.

Your second key to success is to ensure you push every button like a little six year old when you get into your compartment, so you can see what they all do. This means you can think that the blue night light shining conveniently in your eyes for the next nine hours is just a feature of the cabin, and not controlled by the switch immediately above your head. You are then free to discover the mechanism for turning off the light the next morning amid what can only be described as "excessive language".

And your last key to success is to ensure the train attendant speaks broken English, thereby rendering it impossible to figure out why exactly he buzzed the alarm at seven, instead of dropping by with breakfast as you expected. You can then attempt to stow the bed to sit on the seat beneath, but get stopped by the best of German engineering, and spend the rest of the morning with the door closed, starving, rocking back and forth in a delusional haze on the two-inch mattress, hoping nobody will notice you failed to get everything back in place.


Josh Bingham said...

Very funny. I took a night train from Bejing to Xian (China) and found it quite the experience. We had to share the compartment with complete strangers (4 beds per room), and although we got there first and put our stuff on the beds we wanted, we left the room, came back, and found that our roommates had MOVED our bags to take the beds they wanted. In the end, I am glad I tried it once, but don't plan on doing it again. lol

I will say it was VERY fun though to join some friends (who booked in the economy section of the train) who had brought a guitar and we started singing american folk songs with all the Chinese passengers, who knew EVERY word of the songs and loved singing with the americans.

Aroura said...

At least you have funny stories to share. Isn't that worth the abuse and delusional haze? Not to mention all the money you (hopefully) saved by traveling by an insane choice of transportation.