Want a train ticket? Good luck.

We said goodbye to Hong Kong yesterday and headed to Guangzhou, where we needed to get train tickets. Guess what? Nobody who works in the train station speaks Cantonese! Crap. So we were stuck with stringing together Mandarin from our phrasebook. We wandered around the station until we finally found the long distance ticket sellers, but we had no. idea. how to to read the schedule. After staring at it for about 10 minutes while waiting on line we sort of deciphered it, but still had no idea if we were in the right line.

We were super lucky though – two girls (who only spoke Mandarin) took pity on us and tried to figure out what we wanted, and helped us with communicating with the surly ticket seller. It almost certainly would have been a gigantic fail otherwise – it was almost the end of the day and there were people crowding around the window trying to cut the line, and the ticket seller certainly would not have had the patience for foreigners who spoke no Chinese.

So we're off on a 35-hour train ride to Chengdu in a few hours. Wish us luck!
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5 thoughts on “Want a train ticket? Good luck.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Good luck! I told you that mainland China would be hard and because you’re Chinese they’ll be giving you quizzical looks the whole time. It’s the same in Japan too (even though you obviously aren’t Japanese). But mad respect for a 35 hour train ride. I couldn’t do it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to China! I can relate to such experience. Fascinating! onceout of our comfort zone, all our survival skills kick in, and some how you are able to complete the "mission" Thanks for sharing.

  3. Tracie Lee says:

    we made it through! it was both good and bad – it was amazing to see the countryside, all of the farms and the giant mountains and crazy long tunnels. it was also interesting trying to order food in the dining car – we had no idea what anything was, and the staff was not exactly…helpful. they were just weirded out that we didn't speak or read chinese. but somehow we managed to order spicy pork and it was halfway decent.<div> <br></div><div> i sort of got a cold though from the air conditioning being on too high, trying to get over that now.</div><div><br></div><div>oh and Posterous is blocked in China! however we can still email the system. weird.<br> <br></div>

  4. Julie Lee says:

    Chinese is not known for service; I guess there are so many customers they don’t care. The newer thinking businessmen are more into service but on a train you are not going to get service. I am glad you got through the train ride. You got the right ticket and got on the right train!! I got a job I am working at Nordstorm at Garden State Plaza. I also working at the new Meadowland Stadium. I was on my feet for 15 hours Saturday. Dexter is being a bad boy!! He doesn’t listen to me anymore. He just do whatever he wants. He still cute though!! Have fun! Enjoy!!

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