Henan Trip – Train to Zhengzhou

Posted by Jill,
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[Written 10/10/2011, about 10/9/2011.  Published 11/03/2011.]

Hello from Henan! Today was a great day! But as tempted as I am to begin this entry about today, I should start with yesterday.

We thought it would be a lot of fun to take a train across China so this was the perfect opportunity! After 1 bus, 3 subway transfers, and about a 1 mile walk carting 5 children and luggage through the middle of Beijing, we arrived at the train station. Only 2 hours after leaving our apartment. :) The train station was very large, and very crowded. The kids were completely worn out after the long trek and there was not a seat to be found. Well, actually, there was exactly 1. So we squeezed two tired kids into the one seat and the person next to us was kind enough to offer up their seat. So we squeezed the other three kids onto that one. Then, daddy made everything better by buying everyone an ice cream treat. We all gobbled it down while the masses gawked at the only foreigners in the station. (Being foreigners with FIVE kids never ceases to create a stir in China.) We only had about a 15 minute wait—just enough time to sugar up—until it was time to board.

The train ride itself was fairly uneventful, except for a little altercation between a couple passengers and then a security guard. I tried to get a little video of it with my phone but Todd was afraid I might get my phone confiscated. :) We ate a little Chinese meal on the train, had a few snacks, and played with media. I was really excited about seeing the countryside, but hadn’t thought about the fact that the sun would set only one hour into our 5 hour ride. Oh well.

We arrived later than scheduled at 11pm and headed outside with a thousand other people to find a taxi. After making our way to the front of the line we had 3 or 4 taxi drivers in a row tell us they didn’t know our hotel OR the street it was on—never mind the fact that Todd was speaking Chinese and showing them a Chinese map!  (I honestly think it was because we were foreigners.) Anyway, the 5th driver said he knew, and we didn’t want to risk not finding another willing driver, so we decided to perform the “circus clown car” stunt to fit our family of 7 (and our luggage!) into the one taxi.

I won’t go into detail about the hotel much. But can I just say that I’m glad we’re at one of “the nicest” and “most well-known” Chinese hotel chains?  Time for bed so I’ll have to write tomorrow about today. :)

- Jill

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