26 Hour Seated Adventure

After Tiger Leaping Gorge we set out from Lijiang to Chengdu, the captial of Sichuan province. After looking at a few transportation options, we chose an 8 hour bus ride to a small city called Panzhihua, and then a 14 hour train from there to Chengdu. However, due to the stone age train booking system in China, it is impossible to book a train ticket until you are physically in the town from which you want to catch the train. This meant we had to hope for the best as it is Chinese summer holidays and the trains are very full.

When we arrived in Panzhihua we were somewhat dismayed to learn that the only ticket we could get was in the seated section. The train departed at 6:40 in the evening and arrived at 8:40 the next morning. The seat option wasn't looking too crash hot.

A few minutes after we boarded the hot, ridiculously crowded seated carriage, we were approached by a policeman who instructed us to follow him into a sleeper carriage. We later found out that he was concerned about the security of our luggage in the very cheap carriage and felt our belongings would be more secure in the sleeper section. We gladly took this upgrade but unfortunately we still didn't have a bed, so we had to "sleep" on the tiny fold-out backless seats in the aisle. This was most uncomfortable but still an improvement over the hard seat section.

Finally, 26 hours after we left Lijiang and with no useful sleep behind us, we arrived in Chengdu, very much ready for a hot shower and a snooze.

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