Day Sixteen – Leaving Beijing

Get me out of this crazy city.

It took 30 minutes to bike from Bejing Station to Beijing West station today, but in that 30 minutes my face had collected enough black grime to make a serviet dirty when I wiped my face with it. Very dirty city is this Beijing.

Anyway, I will start from the beginning…

The day started with a 4:50am wake up. Then it was off to Beijing Station to wade through the crowds in order to try to get a train ticket to Urumqi. I was told that the only tickets left were for third class hard seats. At first I refused, and walked away to ponder any other options including flying to Urumqi. But in the end price won out. I paid the 375RMB for my non-reclining seat on the three day train ride. Flying would have cost me 2150RMB…

With my ticket in hand I headed back to the hotel where Mr. Lim was still sleeping. I presently hit the hay until 9am.

After loading the bike up, Mr. Lim and I headed out to make our way to Beijing West Station. Before going our separate ways (him by bus and me by bike), we had breakfast that included rice porrage and steamed buns. Very solid breakfast for only 8RMB for the two of us.

The plan was to meet Mr. Lim at Beijing West Station, however I think that both of us were not aware of the sheer scale of the place. There was no way I was going to find him in the masses of people. So I made my own way to the lugguage sending office. The procedure is fairly straight forward including simply filing in the freight sheet. It does help if you can understand some Chinese characters though. I would imagine however that anyone who did not know any Chinese at all would also get on OK. Very friendly bunch at the office. I paid an extra 30RMB (290RMB in total) to have the bike put on my train, rather than have the bike sent on a separate freight train that could possibly take up to five days to arrive at Urumqi.

Some observations while sitting here in the waiting room:
The Chinese people in this waiting room have a short wick. Toddlers don’t wear nappies. They wear pants with an open crotch. This means that when they squat down everything just hangs out…

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9 thoughts on “Day Sixteen – Leaving Beijing

  • Chris J

    That was always my impression of Beijing and Shanghai too. Just unbelievable smog and congestion. I am not very anxious to go back anytime soon. You will hopefully be able to enjoy some much cleaner air out west. Have a good ride on the train!

  • Satoshi - a friend

    Don't you wish you had a folding bent bike and a hardcase trailer to put the bike inside when transported? It sounds more like a great rail journey out of the mega cith than a cycling journey across Asia… Hope your next stop will welcome you with some fresh air and smooth roads…. You can look for a hardcase for Cello or some similar traditional Chinese instrument that might take your bike neatly within.

  • Aunty Jenny

    How do people survive in all that pollution? It's a wonder they are not all dying of horrible diseases. By the way, if a toddler does want to go to the toilet, do they just go where they are or what?

  • Mum

    You certainly are having an adventure! Presumably the bike got to Beijing all in one piece? Hope you survived the 62hr train ride. Is Mr Lim also travelling to Urumqi?

  • Aunty Les

    Our house has definitelyu sold – settlement date 29th September so I;ll have to start packing up stuff.

    I though Dhaka was bad enough. I alkways had dirty finernails and the tissues would be black when I blew my nose but i don't tjioonk it was anything like Peking.

    Saw Zoe tonight. i called in to give Mark his birthday card to find Chris and Henne babysitting while Mark and Eline were out for a meal. Zoe woke up and started crying so I kepo her reasonable quite till Eline got back to fed her. hasn't seen her for a bout a month so she is very aler now and smiling. She can make a lot of noise for a little thing. Her lower lip goes down and she literraly screams and goes red in the face when things aren't going her way! She's still cute, though.

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    Arno, so far I have only cycled in Korea. In order to get to the big mountains in central Asia before winter I had to take a train across China. From here on I'm really not sure what to expect. The maps I have show that they roads are sealed, howevever at 4500m, I would imagine it would be difficult to keep a road in good shape…

    As for the bike, it is going strong. It is a very solid bike. I am still yet to have a puncture, however that may change with the gritty roads here in western China…

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    Satoshi, as much as I am sure a cello case would be useful for protecting the bike, I'm not so sure about the practicalities of transporting the empty case on the bike…a fold up bike would be a help though…

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    Aunty Jenny, the little toddlers do indeed just poo on the ground. I have seen two doing just that so far. I didn't hang around long enough to see whether their mothers cleaned up after them, but I certainly hope they did.