Hard Sleepers=Hard sleeping

Shanghai Travel Blog

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Random building along the way

So, we caught the sleeper train to Shanghai!


Our train was scheduled to leave at 3.15pm but we got the metro to the station after we checked out at midday as we didnt have anything else to do and it was way too hot to wander around aimlessly with our backpacks on.

Hour 2 - Bored
We arrived in plenty of time and had a couple of hours to kill. We had lunch (well I had lunch and Rachel pushed her food around the plate as she didnt like it), bought some snacks for the train and then Rachel had McDonalds. We were able to go through customs at 2pm, they just checked our passports and took out the visa waver form from it, and settled down on the waiting room floor as there were no seats left. We got talking to a guy sitting next to us, it turned out he was from the Midlands and was going to Shanghai for two weeks. We chatted until we were allowed to board the train, then parted company as he had booked into a soft sleeper whereas we had booked a hard sleeper. A hard sleeper turns out to be a very hard (surprise surprise) bed set within a six bedded cabin, three on each side, top, middle and bottom. We had heard that the bottom bunk always gets used as a seat by everyone so we booked a middle and a top.
Our wonderful sleeping area
The top (which was mine) turned out to be about ten foot in the air, with only a couple of footholds to help get you up. Once I finally pulled myself up (it wasnt graceful!) I found that I coudnt even sit up as there was only about a foot from the bed to the ceiling. It took a while for everyone to get sorted, there was lots of heated arguments between people as everyone was just pushing and shoving each other, trying to get in front.


We left on time, to start our 20 hour journey to Shanghai. We decided to abandon our beds for the time being, we would have plenty of time to spend in them later, and explored the rest of the carriages. Most were hard sleepers like ours, but some were soft sleepers, four bed cabins that were more comfortable, more spacious, had doors and personal tvs! One carriage also had first class, these were only two beds, an ensuite, and a chair to sit on! Along the walkway of each carriage there were various seats that a lot of people were taking advantage of. We met Nick, the guy we were talking to at the station, as we were walking along and we went down to the dining carriage (which could only hold 40 people strangely). We ordered drinks, a water for me and tea for Rachel, but had a bit of a problem when we went to pay as they didnt accept Hong Kong Dollars and we didnt have any Chinese Yuen on us *blushes in embaressment* and Nick had to pay on our behalf. it was good fortune that we had picked up some sandwiches and snacks before boarding the train, otherwise we would of been VERY hungry by the end.


We stayed in the dining carriage as long as we thought we could then headed back down the carriages and perched on a couple of free seats outside the soft sleepers. We sat there for quite a long time, watching the countryside whiz past before heading back to our cabin. Dinner consisted of a rather soggy, crustless sandwich, yum(!) Most people headed to bed fairly early, we tried to stay awake as long as possible but there are only so many fields you can watch before getting bored so we gave up and went to bed around 9.30pm. Now, think about our luck so far and you can guess what Im going to say next...........yep, you guessed it, we had a snorer in our cabin! A loud, abrasive snore that drilled into your head and couldnt even be drowned out completely when I put my headphones on and switched my music up. I managed to fall asleep as some point, and was woken at 6.30am by the bright sunlight streaming in and loud talking. It seems the Chinese are early risers *groans*. I stayed in bed, trying to will myself back to sleep but eventually gave up at 9 and climbed/fell down from my bed to eat a lovely breakfast of rock hard croissant.


We arrived in Shanghai at 11.15am, and after avoiding the mad exodus we disemarked the train and joined the pack of pushing and shoving people that were fighting their way towards customs. It took about 45mins of being squashed, trod on, having our ankles bashed with trolleys and being sweated on to make it to the front of the queue where our passports got a three second glance before being stamped and waved through. As we emerged from the station we were hit by a wave of incredible heat, it was very intense and made us sweat twice as hard as we were before (we later found out it was 100 degrees!). We found the nearest ATM where we got money, then headed for the metro system. We were a bit confused about which line to take so asked one of the station attendants. He pointed to a train which was filled to the gunnals with people and literally shoved me in the back to get on it! The metro system in Hong Kong and Shanghai are very good, large, clean carriages and air conditioned (thankfully).Thanks to my rubbish map reading skills we got a bit lost on the way to our hostel and spent some time wandering up and down several streets before working out where we were meant to be going and arrived at the hostel litterally dripping in sweat (it wasnt pretty).

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Random building along the way
Random building along the way
Hour 2 - Bored
Hour 2 - Bored
Our wonderful sleeping area
Our wonderful sleeping area
Shanghai
photo by: Chokk