April 10, 2014

The Slow Train to Chengdu

Hi friends and family,

We have been back home now for nearly a week. Here is a look at our trip.

Like I mentioned in our previous post we were going to be taking a train with all five of our kids for 26 or so hours to get to Chengdu. Trying to get all of our small kids to move in one direction and pulling all of our luggage through the train station (as the rest of China attempts to do the same) is the most difficult part of taking the train as a family. The train station, unfortunately, doesn’t have elevators/escalators, which means running multiple times up (or down) flights of stairs to retrieve luggage (and kids). This will no doubt get easier as our kids get older. Right now it’s still pretty challenging. I was happy though that Sydney was able to pull one of our suitcases for this trip.

One funny scene we came across was on our way to the train station. We saw a group of guys riding mountain bikes decked out with biking gear. They looked like they were pretty serious about biking. One guy though must have only been semi-serious, because he was smoking a cigarette as they road through town. Watching people exercise while smoking is quite the ironic picture.

After we got through the train station and made it safely to our cabin I began shifting luggage around. (We booked four soft sleeper beds. Each cabin has four beds, so we didn’t have to share our room with anyone). I came across Lily’s carry-on bag and all it had in it was a kid’s Bible. Heather then tells me that it’s all she wanted to bring. Precious.

After we’d been on the train for a little bit we got all of the kids to sit on one of the top bunks and then put our computer on the top bunk across from them and set up a movie. A bunk bed movie theater if you will. Today’s first showing is the kid’s movie Epic. It’s at this point that I’m incredibly grateful. You’re not always guaranteed a cabin with a functional electrical outlet. The fact that ours works means we will have movies for the duration of our trip. If our electricity didn’t work we would have had insanity for the duration of the trip.

For meals we have a bunch of snacks packed, some banana bread, muffins, and bread/peanut butter. The train also has ramen for sale, but it’s twice the normal going rate (6rmb for a bowl, yikes!). Side note, you can buy a Snickers in a lot of places in China, but not on the train. Bummer!

During this trip I’m reminded of something random. Aubrey loves using squatty potties. I don’t know where this love came from, but she has it. And that’s good for her, because squatty potties are your only option on the train (but dark tunnels and curves in the track make it more difficult to use).

Night time on the train is also pretty difficult for our family. Trying to get our son Isaac to sleep without the prison walls of a crib is not an easy task. In the morning we are making our way through the Sichuan province and it’s beautiful. Two train attendants then come to our cabin to collect the blankets that are given to the passengers. I’m not at all comforted as they fold each of ours and just put them back on the bed for the next people to use. (To their credit they did take one of the blankets that had pop tart smeared on it.)

We then arrive safely in Chengdu. I will write more about our time in Chengdu in my next post.

much love,
the petersons


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