Waking up by the familiar yelling and pleasant bright light flowing from the lamps some 30 centimeters above my face I felt that this day would not be so different from the other days spent on the train. After a instant noodles breakfast and some reading the family below got ready to leave. Having the now docile kids leaving with risk of getting a untrained pack replacing them and the fact that luggage compartment now was mine, mine and only mine sort of balanced each other out. The fact that the mother beat all previous chinese in the art of glaring made me think that it was a good thing in the end.
I finished reading No Logo (good book, although I get the feeling it might be a bit outdated, or ?). Walking to the restaurant and back for the umpteenth time I felt that perhaps I knew that part now. The power outlets were occupied and after playing old school RPG until my battery died I started reading “48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene instead. It sounds worse than it is, it is a compilation of Sun-Tzu’s “Art of War”, Machiavelli’s “The Prince” and similar works. Nice anecdotes describing historical persons that either transgressed or observed these “Laws” while detailing them. So far fun reading, I doubt that I will have much practical use of how to raise in a renaissance court though.
A group of four twenty-five-ish chinese broke my solitude by invading the sleeper. It didn’t take long until the now all too familiar “Helloooo?” was heard. Being a nice guy I returned it and instead of a giggle/smile this time I got some stuttered response. After some oiling of their pronunciation we started conversations about anything ranging foreign policies to student loans. I was given a lovely strawberry bread and instructed in how to eat the seeds chinese seem to eat to pass time.
With some training I think I actually managed quite well eating the things now, although I still spend more energy breaking the shell and getting out the edible part than I think I actually gain from eating it. The chinese proved to be students in different fields and had different ideas of thing although when the historian gladly explained how chinese hated japan(ese) no-one to my surprise countered this statement.
They also brought up the cultural revolution without and when paging through my lonely planet the historian happily bursted out that Chairman Mao was a great leader after spotting the portrait above Heavenly Gate of Peace on a picture. I decided not to confront these statements but added that in Sweden we didn’t have such a recent history, which perhaps explained that most swedes didn’t hold a grudge against, say russians, despite wars back in the days.
These things didn’t overshadow the fact that it was fun and interesting conversations and the chinese were very friendly and helpful, we kept talking until it was time for dinner-noodles. I for example learned that the information boards (this direction only in chinese) wished me a pleasant journey before the text was eaten up by pac-man.
After dinner I read some more and then fell asleep rather early again. Waking up around midnight though, I seized the moment to do some blogging and charging my camera while my fellow train travelers were asleep. Tomorrow it’s back in Beijing and I might try to catch some Kung-Fu show if available there, some pedicure and pay Dragonfly massages another visit. Apart from that I have no real plans except to gather my luggage and gauge how much I have to throw or give away to satisfy the tight limitations on weight and volume for my flight back home to Sweden. I can almost feel the salt breeze of Gothenburg January weather thinking about it. After my perhaps last visit to a squat toilet in a while It’s time to catch my beauty sleep.