Meeting The Train Passengers

Nomadic Gatherings by Michel Guntern

Meeting The Passengers
Meeting The Passengers by 戸山 神奈 on Unsplash.

Chapter Five: China Travel - Meeting The Passengers.

Chee Lu was a 26 year-old medical graduate travelling to Shanghai for two week's holiday.

He had fifteen hairs on his chin, and two thin wisps of hair either side of each nostril.

He told me that the Chinese also had to pay for hard-sleepers in FEC, although foreigners pay a 75% higher rate. He had connections in Canton to get his ticket, but as there are no return tickets in China, he would have to queue like everyone else in Shanghai.

He was taught English by a 58 year-old spinster from Edinburgh. He liked the England portrayed in Pride and Prejudice and the work of Charlotte Bronte.

He also admired Winston Churchill and read about the Second World War. He was glad that China was opening up, and studied Japanese as the relations between their countries improved.

"Chairman Mao had made some mistakes. Now we must look forward to the future, but I am afraid that with Westernisation come problems of crime. And with the easy movement now it is hard to trace the offenders. I am also afraid the die-vorce rate will increase."

He had been married a year and was still very much in love, and didn't want that to change.

He wanted to get a passport and study abroad, probably in Japan or New Zealand; to give his family a better life.

He read back copies of Time and novels that his friends brought back from the West.

New books cost too much for him, but there was a good exchange of second-hand literature. His monthly wage was 400 Yuan.

Nomadic Gatherings
Nomadic Gatherings - by Michel Guntern.

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