Train Tickets and Pink Netbooks

So for anyone that doesn’t know my computer is officially in computer heaven. Tally: China has killed 3/15 computers on this program. So yesterday I bought a little samsung netbook online to get me through the next three months- I’m on my roommate’s computer right now. Hopefully it will come today so that I can START writing my 2 giant research papers due this weekend, but we’ll see. I have to say though, Yuan Yuan is officially a SAINT. She is the nicest, most helpful, most capable person on this planet and I can’t imagine what I, or this program, would do without her. I feel so bad because Yuan Yuan has helped me with WAY to many things over the last few weeks. Basically, long story short, Yuan Yuan helped me find a computer that was cheap, but wouldn’t die within three months. Her favorite was a little pink samsung netbook, which is what I ended up getting. However, I do have to withdraw $2000 kuai in cash (a little over $300) to pay for it. Maybe I should put it in a briefcase?

So for another quick update, I’m a little behind on my blog because of all the crazy computer issues I’ve had, so instead of being behind forever I promise I will definitely write a few posts about spring break and our weekend trip to Xi’an, as well as what I learned from my capstone on restaurant service in China. I will attempt to get my pictures off my old computer for the blog posts but no promises.

Just to skip ahead a little bit, this week is the last week of my program in Beijing. Tomorrow I have my Chinese final (ahhhhhhh) and my capstone and internship paper are due this weekend. Fun fact: the capstone was actually supposed to be due on Friday but since 3 people’s computers died and we were all relying on borrowing other people’s computers to write our paper (or paperS for me and Yoko), they extended the deadline thank GOD.

It’s crazy that this Beijing adventure has come to an end! I know for all of you reading this it seems like I’m only 2/3 of the way through my program since my computer has been dead on-and-off for the last few weeks, but I just have to say that this experience here has been amazing and I am so glad I am staying over the summer! The 15 of us have become a little family: we see each other every day and I’ve had the best adventure of my life with these people. I can’t imagine waking up, walking out into the hallway and not having all of them right there. At least most of us are staying over the weekend before they kick us all out of the dorm, so we can have one last fun weekend together.. while I’m frantically writing my papers?

On a lighter note, Nate and I will be going to Sichuan and Chongqing for two weeks in between programs. It’s a little interesting that no one else is coming, seeing as there are four other people who are staying over the summer, but at least Nate and I are on the same page about what we want to get out of our two weeks. Monday morning we’ll be taking a 26 hour train to Chongqing, where we’ll spend about four days, then we’re off to Chengdu to eat hot pot and pet pandas (MY DREAMS ARE COMING TRUE) for three or four days, then down to Emei Shan and Leishan to see the golden Buddha and sleep overnight in a monastery. After that we’ll be going down to Yibin, a dirty little boring city, but right near the incredible bamboo forest and a cliff with ancient hanging coffins! -as in people used to nail coffins into the side of a cliff so right now there are 200, with 100 smashed on the floor below. After that we will be spending all day busing/training it to Jiuzhaigou, one of China’s best nature parks. After that it’s off to Xi’an!

It should be a great trip- as long as we don’t kill each other or get stranded somewhere. On Tuesday, Nate bought the wrong train tickets (as in seats for 24 hours instead of a hard sleeper) and I actually almost killed him. Apparently he didn’t know there were seats on overnight trains??? Typical male “doesn’t want to ask for directions” syndrome. So in order to solve this dilemma, I had to go way out of my way, take a bus from work to the Beijing north train station, exchange the tickets and then take the subway home. This would’ve been fine except people apparently don’t stand in lines at the train station. I was trying to tell the woman what I wanted and all of these people were crowding around me to get the next spot after me. if I was fluent in Chinese I probably would have turned around and screamed “can you just BACK UP. Get in a line, and get out of my face and this will go 100X faster”. While cutting and pushing maybe get you up a spot or two, it was making what I was trying to do take forever because I couldn’t hear what the woman was saying. She basically told me there were no beds and gave me my tickets back. Great. So I got in the little horde again, which had now become some sort of a line..ish, to ask her if there were any other trains I could take instead that had beds. I eventually got up to the counter and asked her, she pulled up a screen with all the different trains to Chongqing that day and started giving me some complicated lecture about what each number meant- I was lost. Also I had about 5 Chinese people swarming around me.. I almost wanted to elbow this one guy in the face. I asked her again “which one has hard sleeper beds”?! She went on into a complicated description again. I tried explaining what I wanted throwing in one or two english words and she was completely lost- okay, zero english. I eventually got that the morning train at 9am was the only one that had two hard sleeper beds in one room. WHEW. I tried to ask her how long the train was- she told me 9am, helpful. We eventually found out last night that it was 26 hours instead of 24.. oh well, at least we have beds.

So basically Nate owes me a foot massage and/or candy. Overall, I am very excited about my trip to Sichuan. I’ll definitely try and keep everyone updated, even if I have to skip ahead and talk about spring break or Xi’an later. And the good thing is, even though I may have attempted to kill Nate once or twice, we always make up within 20 minutes so I think we’ll be fine as long as I don’t let him buy anything important without me.

Okay, time to study for my Chinese final! Wish me luck!



About Richelle

Expat, traveler, and spicy food lover, I've spent the last few years living in China and traveling around Asia. In my spare time I enjoy salsa dancing, exploring night markets and stuffing my face with street food.

2 comments on “Train Tickets and Pink Netbooks

  1. OK so this post caused me to laugh out loud during Jeopardy – very disturbing to the others watching. Tell Nate I wish him luck! Can’t wait to hear the rest – hope that computer arrives soon!

  2. If you can handle a crowded train station anywhere, and handle it in Chinese on top of it, Girl, you can handle anything that life will ever throw at you. Way to go!

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