Just as I thought nothing more would happen that day, there did.
I offered the german a beer, now I had saved 15 kuai by getting the ticket around the corner and he hadn`t.
So we sat there talking - about football among other things - but at that time we probably had reached the never ending mystery - China, which has been on my mind for so long.
I did see that a chinese girl, who sat at the next table with her computer, apparently followed the conversation, and at some point broke in asking if we were sociologists. Or maybe it was just the german she asked. Anyway he answers yes - I didn`t know - only that he`s been travelling and had occasional work for the last - 20 years? He was in China first time already in 1991.
She`s from a university down south, but is working on projects in - Maoxian County! So now I have yet another source for information for my book. And even one that`s educated in peoples interaction. She has a master in sociology and anthropology and is hired by the university, so she`s even paid for what she do.
She gets my pictures from Maoxian - the latest - in which she`s interested. I can see they`re a bit more descriptive than hers, where there, as habit, are well known faces - soon - in every second. But I get some from two villages. She tells about the problems in one of the projects. We two europeans cannot solve them, but I actually think we give her some good points.
Today I just have to pack my things before 11, where I`m supposed to leave, to get the train at 12.10.
My trousers are almost dry.
They`ll be dry on time.
My trousers are not completely dry. They`ll be in a couple of hours.
It`s not allowed to smoke in the waiting room. In mine I see at least one who does. Nobody seems to notice. This attitude, to avoid contact, like in the traffic - I find typical chinese. Don`t put your nose too far ahead - you could have it punched?! But it`s a contrast to the aggressive way they behave in traffic. Under all circumstrances one accepts that some are more important than others and have certain rights. In other words one knows one`s position. This goes all the way back to Confucius, 2500 years ago, even he too was influenced by older traditions. No wonder that it sticks deep, but how does this fit in the modern society China already has developed all over the country? I think I`m changing my view on how the big chinese middleclass will demand political reforms in the near future. As long as they have their material demands fullfilled, I think they`ll keep quiet. Not even 27 years of Maoism peaking with the cultural revolution has been able to alter the old traditions and this is a benefit for the ruling governent.
The train leaves on time. Actually two minutes early according to my watch. I`d better check the time when I get the chance. It`s my firtst encounter with "hard seat". They are not hard but it`s not sofas either. Three in one side and two in the other. I have no.6 in the middle of the 3-row, but as there are nobody else when I sit down, I sit at the window. Nobody tries to change that.
It`s a grey day - as usual I have to say, unfortunately, and it rained last night. The flat Sichuan plain disappears in the mist. For once I see a churchyard. It`s the first time I see land that could have been used for agriculture being used for that, but on this plain there are no other possibilities. I start longing for a clear danish summers day.
The concrete pillars for a new railway, like the one to Dujiangyan are close to our rails. It`s to compare with the S-bahn even it goes faster and has less stations. The blue forms are still in piles. Most of the fields have been harvested, it goes for the rape and something which is either wheat or barley.
La la u la la-a it sounds in the loudspeakers. A western tune has for short taken over from the chinese pop, that has been dominating the sound background mixed with harsh sounds from the staffs walkie.
As we part from Chengdu the sky gets brighter and after one and a half hours the small green hills I know so well start emerging.
There are 118 seats in this carridge, all are taken. Many sleep, others play cards and the rest are fumbling with their mobiles. All is quite normal.
We stop at Mianyang at 14 o`clock. Long enough so people can buy food from stands in the platforms.
And now the staff must go to wave his flag, he`s put on the cap.
Close to the river I see a huge white lying Buddha at some temples. Must be mentioned in Lonely Planet?
At Jiang You are two big power plants with 4 towers for cooling each. Nuclear Power?
We roll into some higher mountains, there are several tunnels. The landscape is pretty but it has been raining the last half an hour and the rain and the low clouds don`t contribute to the beauty.
At the end the mountains are low again. I think I recognize the valley, where Baolun and the two friendly policemen were, but there is no station.
There is an anxiety in the carridge. It can`t be long. Now I have to keep to the right when we step outside and find Tianxin Binguan.
We`ve stopped at Guangyuan South. Two endless frieght trains have to pass in each direction. 20-25 workers in yellow vests are allowed to board the train (our wagon is the last). Yet another freight train passes. We`re moving. We have to cross the river. The staff puts away his red and green flags, the journey is ending. School children are walking home along the track next to us, there`s still a light rain.
I don`t know at which hotel I am. Probably the one I was looking for,
but I had to walk left in stead. There`s nothing in english. It`s
disgusting but for one night it`ll do, and it`s next to the station, so
I immidiately went to get a ticket for tomorrow evening. I succeeded.
Hopefully it will not rain tomorrow - even I have an umbrella.
I eat near by in the street. I was looking for some bread, but when someone calls me I ask if they have fried rice? They have. And when I point to one of the dishes I understand that she says with eggs - "ji dan". And it is. And a tsingtao beer - spelled in the oldfashioned way.