Urumqi – Dunhuang, China | 16 October, 2006 | $10.51 (over night hard seat train)
Although I waited around for a sleeper train for a few days this leg was totally full. I finally gave up and decided it was time to have my hard seat overnight experience in China. I sat at a table with four seats. It was impossible to sleep with the lights on and the shuffling of passengers coming and going. When I got too tired to keep my eyes open I nodded off for a few minutes only to open my eyes and see completely different people sitting across from me. A particularly memorable pair of passengers was two women who spent their time across from me playing their phone’s ringtones at full volume to pass the time but I also had men spitting out sunflower seeds, friends talking and families eating steaming ramen. It would have been easy to chalk it up to an experience if I didn’t have an entire day of waiting around Dunhuang in store for me before my connecting bus on my way to Tibet.