This was my second trip on a train in China and again it’s an overnight train with the trip taking just over 10 hours. I would be travelling on the D305 which leaves Beijing South station an 9.40PM and arrives in Shanghai at 7.52AM.
The train leaves from Beijing South Station which is very modern, clean and an easy place to hang out featuring a KFC, McDonalds and numerous other cafes and a pair of restuarants.
Being an overnight journey I went the the ‘soft sleeper’ option again with the ticket this time costing 685RMB ($107AUD) booked via the Red Wall Hotel tour desk. The train is newer than the one I took from Xian to Beijing and also featuring a small LCD screen at the end of the bed which unfortunately only screened shows in Chinese.
Again, there were four bunks in the cabin and when I entered one lady was already settled in and looked at me curiously when I made my way in. ‘Ni, hao’ I said as I entered, and quickly got a ‘ni hao’ in response (ni hao is equal to hello in mandarin). She spoke some more words in mandarin which I didn’t understand. ‘wu bu hui shou putonghua’ I replied with a smile, meaning I cant speak mandarin, she smiled and could see I was struggling to find somewhere to put my bag and pointed out a neat little storage space beneath the bottom bunk.
That was pretty much the extent of our communication for the journey and just before the train was set to depart a young chinese male joined us in the cabin and one bunk was still empty as we departed.
It was a quite trip all way and with no one knowing anyone else, and one of those people unable to speak the language, soon everyone was in sleeping mode. Come morning most people in the train start waking early at around 5.00 and start making use of the wash basin, mirror and toilets at the end of the car.
The lady that was sharing the cabin jumped off at Nanjing, which is the only stop prior to Shanghai. Not long after that I jumped down to the lower bunk and got my luggage ready to go.
The young guy that was in the bunk below seeing me says a big helloo, turns out he is a university student who can speak pretty good english. We chat for a while about his uni life and we soon start talking about house prices in China, a hot topic here as they have been on the up and up.
I told him how housing prices in Australia were getting further and further out of reach of the average wage earner, and he concurred that the situation was very similar in China except that for some its just a dream that even dreaming of is unrealistic.
Pretty soon the train arrives in Shanghai and its time to see a new city.