Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Train to Beijing

Today, Wednesday, we packed up our luggage to get ready for our train trip to Beijing.

We spent our remaining hours in Shanghai walking for about 3 hours in the area around our hotel. We stopped at local merchants, malls and strolled down small streets lined with food vendors.

One thing we have noticed is , that in China, everybody is constantly eating. Whether it be at their stores, on the street or in restaurants.

Also in Shanghai bikes are everywhere, and in large numbers. People of all ages are using bicycles as their main form of transportation. All of the bikes look like they have been handed down from one generation to another. (I should have brought the three we have in the basement and made some extra spending money.)

Though it was raining all day it did not deter anyone from being out and about.

One of many high end malls
We had a nice long lunch at the hotel and took a taxi to the train station, for our overnight journey to Beijing.
When we arrived at the station and when we exited our taxi, we were greeted by three men, who we assume were porters. They checked our tickets, grabbed our bags and we followed. They took our three bags, walked us to the terminal, waited 60 mins for us to board and then placed our bags in our cabin. The charge was 200 RMB or about $25.00. It was so worth the cost. We would have had much difficulty in locating the proper place to enter and then have to drag our three bags.

The train was a total surprise. We had no idea what to expect and were anticipating the worst. Instead we found the train to be very comfortable and clean. The room was very small, but had bunk beds, a table and private toilet. The general tickets were hard seats for a 12 hour journey.

Our Room

Luggage storage

Our trip was very comfortable. We were served a complimentary dinner, which was similar to a typical US airline hot meal. (Luckily, we ate before we boarded)

After we boarded, we stopped in the club car for a beer. It was odd to be traveling to Beijing, drinking a Corona.

In the bar area we me a mother/daughter from outside Manchester England. They were traveling to Beijing for two days, the end of a five week holiday. Very interesting people, who at the spur of the moment decided to take the train and spend the last two days seeing Beijing.

Dining Car

We arrived at 7AM, and were met by the driver of the car we booked from the hotel. This was a great move, because arriving so early, it would have taken us forever to find transportation to our hotel without any idea of where to go.

The drive to the Grand Hyatt Beijing took about 30 minutes. We were able to have an early check in and get into our room. Fortunately, we were upgraded to a mini-suite, at no extra charge. The cost here is $143 per night. This is a beautiful Five Star hotel at an incredible rate.

Included is a bedroom/bathroom/kitchen and living room.

Living room area
The weather is crisp. We are glad for no rain, but it is cold.
More about the remainer of our day tomorrow.

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