Chinese train coach is perfect example of how engineering is used in benefit of people. There is 24 x 7 boiling water available and this is life line of one and all traveling in that coach. From Green Tea to staple diets of many variants of instant noodles – clean and hygienic boiling water is made available.
Toilet sets are squatting / Indian style and there is no “western” seat option as we mostly notice in Indian Railways. Flush was without flowing error – and I see no contamination or malfunctioning of this system- there is suction as we see in planes and two flushes of water to start and end process of flush.
Toilet paper was not replaced after it finished ..I assume Chinese use water to clean up and there was tap of water available for this purpose. A room freshener placed to give traveler a non-stinking smell- was successful attempt.
Handwash – Shave and for Face wash, there is separate compartment with two sets of cold and hot water taps.
I found Chinese with great civic sense, they do not litter, they respect others with great dignity and specially woman, kids and elders are treated with great care and honor. In this journey, I could not see even a scrutiny glance of any male towards any female, even youngsters were busy on their phones and as language was biggest barrier – there was no communication initiated from anyone.
Train coach attendant , the most important and stressful job, I can say. She in responsible of ..
1. Identifying and admitting passenger – she stands out of coach and made checks and admit passenger.
2. She is responsible for all electrical gadgets and maintenance of break pressure and other circuits- although there are alarms, but she keep an eye on all readings. This includes, coach AC temperature, music being played on public address system.
3. She is cleaner and sweeper too. She mops and cleans coach floor almost every 4-5 hrs.
4. She takes care of toilet upkeep, supplies and general cleanliness.
5. She takes care of garbage bin- imagine people generating huge garbage of noodle cups, bottles and other things – she keep changing plastic bags and handles disposal of garbage.
6. This is her duty to make aware a passenger when his / her station approaches.
7. She opens Exit door and let passenger go- doors and locked and key is with her. Passenger can not just drop from a journey without exchanging ticket and informing her / documenting a early exit, if required.
All these duties are performed with a Walkie-Talkie set [Kenwood] which every policeman and railway servant carries on train.
There is plenty of food and fruit available and there is lot of verity. Our problem was communication and it was very hard to make anyone understand that we need Vegetarian diet. In absence of internet and active phone number – we were paralyzed. Thanks to my Canada supplies of noodles and Cereals- it came handy in addition to fruits.
Prices are fine by Canada and Chinese standards but very high by Indian standards. A 8 Yuan Instant noodle cup comes to 80 INR which is considerable inflation.
There is designated area / seats made available for those who wants to eat. A window seat – with a tray provided for collecting garbage which one can throw in coach garbage can, later on.
Chinese loves to eat and their choices are having lot of options too. Traveling in China, you can not miss perfect blend of Westernization with culture and tradition.
Right from shoes, they are mostly of international brands,all made in China but some locals were wearing local made leather shoes too. People mostly wear jeans, pants and I could not see any “traditional” dress in Metro, Cities, towns and even in villages.
T Shirts, Shirts are national dress of men and woman wear various tops, t shirts, shirts and other dresses and there is no hesitation in keeping dresses as airy as possible. Young girls I Shanghai wear jean shorts, and sometimes they are considerable short by any standards – but as I mentioned above, woman in China seems to me more safe and secure than any developed country / civilization of Europe or North America. Cell phones are having English keyboard but language used is Chinese !
China’s national chat software is WeChat and national search engine is www.baidu.cn
Our journey ends with Coach attendant ordering us “ follow me” – wish she could have generated a smile, but taking consideration into her such a hectic and responsible job- I think I can live without having one. 😛
We came out from station – and from Exit , we entered into Entrance to get Tickets of return journey issued. There was no TAXI , TAXI mafia after us – no one came close to us offering any ‘ services” and after getting tickets [ Showing Passports ] we came out from station, having no idea where our hotel is. I personally do not like this blind movements in some alien nation. While Cheena, as usual is tension free and enjoying views from a “ woman’s “ perspective – I was desperately looking for some sign, some indication that we are heading towards “ West Ring Road”. Cheens confirmed that hotel was 5-6 kms distance from railways station and as usual, male mind in such scenario is not to take risks ..I inquired from driver – speaking slow, imagining he will be able to catch up RING ROAD atleast. None !
I was talking to a wall – all I could understand was, 2 minutes drive more. He was right – he charged 14-15 Yuan and this was very honest and rightful charging…I was ready for paying him 60 because he made signal of 6 – it was Kms and not money he was trying to convey.
Check in, was smooth as usual and after recording our passports – we were given a room which was much better than anything we encountered in last 4 days. But we have to buy a jacket, managing dinner and have to inquire about our journey to Danxia.
Lot of time went into struggling with language, requesting shopkeeper to type MILK POWDER …and after buying some eatables – we were looking for jacket which has now become a expedition in itself. We could not find what we were looking for and after spending good time- we reach back to hotel at 10.0 PM…too tired….I dozed off without any memory of where I am .