Monday, May 26, 2008

Sleeper Train

We left Beijing late on a sleeper train at 11:30pm on May 26. The crowd at the Beijing Train Station was huge and the Chinese don't form a line when they get on the train. When the doors opened everyone surged forward in a crushing wave. My suitcase was wedged between two people in front of me and I could not remove it - I just hung on. When I got close to the door my suitcase momentarily got wedged into a dividing column and for a split second I was caught between my suitcase and the column. Then the crowd surged to the side a little as people tried to avoid the column. I yanked my suitcase free and a second later I was forced through the open door to safety. Luckily my daughter, Hannah, and friend Mark Van Loan made it through but we all decided afterwards that we'd be the last on the train rather than risk being trampled.
We arrived in Datong early in the morning. Datong was originally founded around 200 BC during the Han Dynasty. The original name was Pingcheng and it was renamed Datong around 1048 AD. It is the stop off point for seeing the Yungang Grottoes (Cloud Ridge Caves) which are close by.

No comments: