The GoGlobal Blog

XI’AN BOUND: August 17, 2013

XI’AN BOUND: August 17, 2013

Train T43 departs for Xi’an


I was extremely excited yet also very nervous. I was about to embark on a two week trip that I now know changed my life. We were given a brief presentation on the trip to come during Orientation week and a booklet filled with the itinerary, extra information about each place, and the TBC rules. The booklet is referred to by all as the bible, and bus rides were punctuated with “pull out your bible” or “check your bible.”


I flipped through the “bible” and read it front to back in all my excitement with my fantastic roommate Beatrice (check out her China Vlog: Packing was definitely difficult since I’m a “just-incase” packer but also a “minimalist” packer. I packed every medicine and band-aid I brought to satisfy my “just-incase” side first and fore-mostly(I was not going to let any kind of illness prevent me from seeing China!). After rolling up the rest of my two-week articles into a small suitcase and a back-pack fit to burst, Beatrice and I fell into a restless sleep. At 5:00pm the next day, TBC students met in the lobby of the dorm building (Building 6) and headed to West Train Station!

Dinner was set to be at the West Train Station itself. It wasn’t exactly luxury dining, but we all dispersed to find the Fast-food joint that best fit our appetites.
Beatrice and Samer headed for McDonald’s, while my friend Cameron and I headed to a Korean Cafe we had seen (he’s vegetarian). I ordered vegetarian bibimbap. Actually, Cameron did most of the ordering with his fancy 4 years of Chinese language experience (so resourceful), I merely pointed to things at the menu and said zhe ge (this) whenever it was deemednecessary. The food was actually pretty good, but we didn’t have much time to savor the mixed veggies and rice.

We hurriedly stuffed our faces and headed back to the Trian T43 gates, which was set to depart for Xi’an at 7:50pm. I had never ridden an overnight train, so I was fascinated by the seating arrangement we would see. We were handed our tickets and HALLELUJAH I was in the same train cart as Beatrice. We were in Train Cart 1.

We were in what are called the hard-sleepers.The carts had two walls and each side had 3 beds (bunk beds). The top one was pretty high up, as in much taller than me and I’m 5’5”. The bottom one was by far the best (it’s the most expensive to purchase) and you could sit all the way up straight without banging your head on another bunk. The middle bunk was not super high but a jump down, and you banged your head on the top bunk if you sat up straight. Luggage could be put under the bottom bunks or on the foot area of the top bunk.

Each bunk had a reading light at the head. I stuffed my luggage under the mini table under the window, and the rest of the TBCers in the cart: Jesse, Julia, Angie, and Jean. I was in the middle bunk (no room to sit up!) so I sat on the bottom bunk with Beatrice. The cart had squat toilets near the exit doors, and sinks and mirror (no soap or toilet paper though! Thank God I packed gallons of hand-sanitizer). Lights out at 10:30pm! I woke up at 7:00am after a surprisingly deep sleep, and the view outside was gorgeous! I plugged in my headphones, munched on some chocolate-chip granola bars, stared at the gorgeous scenery, and journaled a bit.


…And then the cutest kids came to our cart shouting MEI GUO REN (American people!). A bunch of us spent the rest of the morning  talking to the kids. They were hysterical! They kept playing tag and hide-and-seek and attempting to speak English while I equally attempted to speak Chinese. One of them had a tiny, little baby turtle (which I was a tad bit worried about considering he kept shaking it around).
After saying our sad goodbyes to our new Chinese friends, we rushed out of the train at precisely 8:34am sharp. The train station was bustling and crowded and we all stuck close to one another…and after 12 hours on a train and probably 5 staircases, we were finally emerging in Xi’an!!!

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