Hong Kong to Shanghai by train. The train leaves Hong Kong at 3.15pm and arrives Shanghai at 10.30am the next morning. We were lucky when we booked a four berth cabin that the train was lightly booked and we had the cabin to ourselves.
The trip was smooth but long. “Dinner” was served in the “Dining Car” from 5.30pm – 8.00pm, so we went there at 7pm so as to make the night a bit shorter. We had been warned that the food was greasy, and most people had brought their own food and drink with them.
Sooooo. Lets start with two beers please. Hmmmm …… Warm. “Any cold?” “No” so we will have one only. The top of the can malfunctioned and we were left with a small hole to drink out of. We pointed this out (literally, nobody speaks English and I DO mean nobody, of the staff) and we were given a plastic bowl to pour the beer into, in order to drink it. (With a spoon I guess). I objected and they took it in the “kitchen” and pulled the ring pull off. Ordered stir fried beef mince and pork stir fry and noodles from the basic menu. Asked for tea (standard in China) …. No tea !! When the food arrived I tipped the oil it was swimming in, into the plastic bowl. The cooks and service staff were sitting, yakking on the table next to us. We felt we were taking up their relaxation space. (Found one asleep on the table next morning). We just managed to eat it. I must confess we have not had ANY bad food up till now. Well that was UP till now, I told the guy who advised me the food was, as he said greasy, a retired banker, that my dog used to get better. He asked if I would attempt breakfast but having seen the menu and food production, I told him “No way”!!!
Apart from meal time night and morning there was just NO WAY to get anything on the train. When we talk, remind me to tell you how hard it is to get a sachet of sugar, and a bottle of water “for my dying wife to take her tablets”. But it filled in an hour or so of boredom. 🙂
The next morning the banker guy told the attendant of my feelings on the train toilets, food and service but I guess she couldn’t care less. Oh didn’t I mention toilets? Two sorts. Eastern (Don’t even think about them) and Western. But no toilet paper. I asked the attendant (sitting in her cubicle) for some and she grudgingly gave me enough to blow my nose on, (I didn’t tell her we always carried some anyway). Then I asked the banker guy what was the bucket of used toilet paper in the toilet for. He asked the girl who said the tongs and bucket were for you to put your USED toilet paper in so it did not clog up the holding tanks. YEAH RIGHT !!!!!!
Well the train got us to Shanghai at 10.30am, we cleared customs and immigration, followed directions sent by our hostel, got the train OK, walked in the direction we were told and presto the Shanghai City Central International Hostel appeared magically in front of us. Great navigation Wombats….. 😉
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