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My Very Own…Train Ride From Hell Story?

Saturday, September 23rd, 2006

It is a common practice among travelers that you try to read a book about the country you are currently traveling in. Almost everyone I met was reading “First They Killed My Father,” a story about the Khmer Rouge regime, while traveling in Cambodia. For China, I found a book by one of my favorite authors Paul Theroux called “Riding the Iron Rooster: Traveling by Train Through China.” Though it was written in the late 1980’s and a bit outdated as China has changed quite a lot in those years, it was still a fascinating read about his trip through many of the same places we were going. It is also an unscientifically agreed upon fact with travelers, that train travel is always a better option than bus travel, and most people are willing to pay more money to travel by train whenever possible. You can get up and walk around, there is a bar car or restaurant, it’s more social, there are bathrooms (however disgusting) and numerous other pluses. The minuses are few, except for maybe this key phrase: hard seat on overnight train in China. [read on]