I am writing this on the overnight train that we took from Beijing to Xian.
We boarded the train in the late afternoon, after a long time negotiating how and where to place our bikes.
They needed to be given at the cargo bay, and an additional 1000 ($150) yuan was needed, in order to get this done.
They would not accept our bikes packed in their cycling bags, they wanted them in cardboard boxes also.
Finding the correct train, platform and soft sleeper waiting room, was not easy even with a Chinese speaking guide, that the hotel provided for us.
He spoke no English, and was not very familiar with the procedures.
The Beijing West train station is a massively HUGE complex.
It has a few hotels and endless services.
It is almost as big as the Forbidden City Complex…
But all went well, and we are sharing a soft sleeper cabin with a lovely Chinese family.
This train stops a lot, which makes me think that the journey will be longer than we thought…. We could not book the fastest train, as they do not accept cargo at all.
Right before we bordered the train, we bought tea cups that can be refilled with tea leaves and hot water, just like the locals do.
It was a wonderful idea, because there is a large container of hot water on the train, which everyone uses to fill their instant noodles cups or like us, their tea cups.
There is food on the train, offered by passing carts, but it looks like it is mostly meat.
I stopped a woman selling delicious fresh cucumbers and cherry tomatoes.
This along with the snacks and nuts I bought in the station, will have to do for this journey.