Train Ride to/from Lijiang, by Kelly Sheng ’17

There’s something amazing about waking up to Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda at 5:40 in the morning on a moving train with three of your BASK friends cramped together in one cabin. I haven’t been on a Chinese sleeper train (or any sleeper train, actually) since I was a kid, but the good memories of playing cards, eating sunflower seeds and stuffing myself with overpriced ramen has remained in the back of my mind for ages. Needless to say, I was beyond excited to revisit this tiny piece of my childhood that I couldn’t seem to forget. On the way from Kunming to Lijiang, we slept for most of the ride, but not before playing several rounds of cards (of which I lost the majority of). The ride back, however, was much earlier in the day, which gave us more time to explore the train and hang out. Despite the disappointment I felt when discovering that the train’s cafe was out of most of their menu’s items, my friends and I still got to try their fried rice, chocolate cake, spinach, zucchini soup and goose.

Personally, I spent a majority of my time working on my pod’s music video. Others played video games, blasted music (at a train-appropriate volume), talked, or ate food. After completing the majority of the video, I tried taking time-lapse videos out a cabin window – only to discover that my timing was incredibly poor. Just as I finished working on our project, the train started to pass through a very mountainous area, which resulted in tunnels after tunnels. Each time lapse only ended up being a few seconds long, if not less, before we moved right into a pitch-black tunnel. Though it was disappointing that I didn’t get the time-lapse I wanted, the scenic view from the train was incredible to look at, especially since we didn’t get the chance to see it on the way to Lijiang, as everything was dark.

It’s a relief to be back in Kunming, though; this hotel has surprisingly started to feel like home to me.

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