No pictures taken during this time ( It was a miserable ride and I was already growing weary of running out of the eight gigabytes of camera cards that I had stashed in my bag).
It was 38 hours on the train. We decided that we would be making the trip back along the same route in a weeks' time, so we got cheaper, sleeper seats. These sleeper seats fit 6 in a cabin and are triple-stacked on either side of the cabin. The top bunks only have about 2 feet of "head room" and are, therefore, much less expensive. We purchased two of these.
The ride wasn't all bad, in retrospect. I slept and read most of the way. I had purchased a 12 yuan copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night when I was first in Cheng Du and hadn't had much time to devote to it. It is a beautiful read, by the way.
When it was time to get up and eat, Thomas and I would sit at a little aisle table, eat a bowl of noodles, drink a beer and started what ended up being an epic five week bout of playing card Gin.
However, it was an extremely long ride. To make matters worse, we shared a cabin with what might be THE most revolting individual I have encountered in my thirty-two years on this earth.
This Chinese man would fart and spit every fifteen minutes. There are not too many rules of etiquette in China that I had noticed, but this one individual gave new meaning to "foul." He smoked cigarettes in our little cabin, which was one place that every other Chinese recognized as a legitimate location in which not to smoke. He ate noodles and drank coffee at the little table in our room and spilled everything all over and just stamped it into the carpet with the sole of his "train slippers." I think he barely even wiped his ass. Excuse my crass choice of vocabulary, but the smell was nauseating. NOTE: This was a unique individual and in no way representative of the Chinese in general.
Once we arrived in Cheng Du, I had a serious bug. My nose was constantly running, I was coughing and sneezing uncontrollably, and was running a fever. I attribute all of the aforementioned to this one person that I shared a train cabin with for 38 hours.
Yet we did reach Cheng Du without any major difficulty. Thomas and I were happy to be back. It was October 7th. We had a couple of days to find another pair of travelers to book our Tibet trip with and things were looking up.