In Beijing

Thursday morning, Steak & Eggs Diner, Beijing.

I survived my 10 hour hard seat train ride. What an ordeal. I am actually looking forward to a plush economy airline seat! The ride was monotonous and not to exciting, although as I was passing through the ticket control I did witness a guy try to get on the train without a ticket. He just showed his red Communist Party book and spoke in Chinese. The guards were not impressed. They shoved him back through the gate and told him to get lost.

As usual, on the train platform everyone was lined up in neat rows in the approximate positions of the train car doors. BUT, as soon as the train rolled in and stopped, mayhem ensued as everyone rushed towards the doors, pushing and shoving. I muttered obscenities under my breath, only to discover the guy behind me in “line” spoke very good English. He later approached me and apologized for his fellow passengers. He kept saying that it was terrible the way everyone rushed and pushed and he wished everyone could be more civil. He also told me he was an old-fashioned guy who wanted to support China’s peaceful rise while maintaining traditional values. We had a nice conversation. He was on his way to Beijing for a law school interview. I hope he makes it. China needs level-headed, well-spoken people like him in leadership positions.

I’ve just received my flight tickets and now I’m heading to the airport. More to come this weekend!


5 Responses to “In Beijing”

  1. Doug Says:

    What a gift it is to find commiseration with a stranger in mayhem. It would seem that train platforms are always an odd place to be rushing…
    Train Platform
    I feel small climbing the stairs
    to the elevated track
    stepping over broken ketchup packets
    french fry wrappers
    kids’ litter dropped by
    catburglers who
    steal scenery. Is my
    train coming?

    Yet there’s a foolish gal
    who built a house nearby
    who endures the clickety-clack for me
    gives me solace, for
    with the sun at my back
    my shadow’s on her roof, but then

    to let the sun climb with me
    the morning clouds do stay away
    on many days of huff and puff

    In Spring at last
    I last until
    my shadow’s on her door

    Tomorrow I shall be her Sun
    who crosses streets to knock
    — Douglas Gilbert, New York

  2. Jon Says:

    Out of curiosity, what qualifies as “muttered… under my breath” if a stranger behind you can understand what you were saying in a foreign language in “mayhem”? 🙂

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  4. global gal Says:

    Jon – I know it sounds crazy, and I can’t imagine how anyone could have heard what I was saying, but this guy did. What was I saying? Well, I don’t want to offend anyone, but I’m pretty sure things like “Jesus” “Holy Sh*t” and along those lines were said. The guy made me laugh because he said he knew I was saying Jesus because he had seen it in American movies. I’ve gotta be more careful because you never know who is listening! I talk to myself all the time in public here and I always assume no one understands. No more!

  5. global gal Says:

    Doug – thanks for the poem. I love how interesting things come my way via comments!

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