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Luoyang, Day 5

Luoyang, China

The Longmen caves are huge sculpted grottos along the river in Luoyang. The city itself was an ancient capitol of China and the birth place of Mahayana Buddhism. Traveleres and traders brought the influence form India and settled in the political and economic capitol. Most of the ancient city is gone, as well as its prestige. Luoyang is now an industrial park, resurrected by the communist party.

The grottos are massive and took years to make.

We spent much of the afternoon in the "old city" which is really just a budget redux of the old city walls. Inside the city there wasn't much and we spent most of our time looking for either bathrooms or internet cafes. The old city seemed to be designed to attract tourists and promote shopping with in the walls. Although we were there for a limited time, the only shops we saw were countless barber shops and spring shops (for like car shocks?). Talk about lack of diversity; perhaps these meet the large local needs? The streets inside are small, and the traffic is completely unregulated, so you had to spen most time looking over your shoulders. Still, the people were friendly, and rather curious to why we were even there.

After dinner, our amazing guide, Daisy, took us to the river bank to do a ritual for the mid-autum festival (moon cake festival). We prepared a small floating lantern with flowers and after a prayer we floated it down the river. Amazingly, it traveled a long ways and we could see it thru the darkness even as we were driving away.

On the bus ride to the train station, Daisy yet again impressed us with an on-bus performance with a chinese instrument that sounds like a clarinet and is fashioned form a gourd. We then got dropped off at the trainstation, which was pretty much empty but had a lot of people in the square hanging out together. There were about 100 people dancing (I guess becasue of the festival) and playing sports. There was one girl there, she had to be maybe 4 or 5 years old practicing kungfu that pretty much put the monks performance to shame. After a wait at the station and hanging out with some locals, we got on our sleeper train and met some other traveling foreigners. A Dutch group was on board, and by the smell of it, they had been traveling for quite some time...

permalink written by  Benjamin Satterfield on September 18, 2005 from Luoyang, China
from the travel blog: China Tour Fall 2005
tagged China, Luoyang, Buddha, Mahayana, Buddhism, Sculpture, Carving, Daisy, Grotto, Sleeper and Train

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? Unknown. First coastal view on this tour and washroom stop on the way South to lunch

Fangshan Township 枋山鄉, Taiwan

2007-07-10 11:24. BA (Bus Arrives; Bus Arrives At) unknown location for washroom break and first sight-seeing spot on this tour.

2007-07-10 11:40. BW (on Bus Waiting, usually just waiting for head count to finish where one of the team leaders, usually Kay, on our bus C will radio in Mandarin "C-車 Charlie, 全到, Over", after which she will receive a confirmation that the bus may move and leave)

We were on a boardwalk, rest and washroom area in what seems like a small town squeezed between the gray beach, ocean in front and tall green mountains behind us - with a passenger train passing by.

Guessing this is Fangshan Township because:
The timing seems to put us at about Fangshan. We left KYU 2 hours earlier, and lunch was 1 hour away. So we should be about 2/3 down the road between KYU and the lunch point, and Fangshan Township happens to be about 2/3 down the road.

Also, seeing the train tracks was another reason. Maps of Taiwan's South West coast show all train tracks turn away from the coast and into interior Taiwan starting from Fangshan Township, so if we could still see train tracks while heading South on the coast, we must be at or before Feng Shan Township.

So, guessing this point is 屏東縣 枋山鄉
Fangshan Township, Pingtung County

permalink written by  monex on July 10, 2007 from Fangshan Township 枋山鄉, Taiwan
from the travel blog: 2007 Overseas Compatriot Youth Taiwan 5th Study Tour (2007海外青年台灣觀摩團第5梯次)
tagged Train, Unknown and First

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The Train Ride Ulaan Bataar to Irkutsk

Irkutsk, Russia

Thanks for your comments guys, I am glad that someone is reading this, and Stephen, the water was clean, but I did dry it a couple of times.

We went to the worlds worst supermarket to get supplies for the train ride. Luckily we did because there were to be no meals for 25 hours. They didn't put a dining car on the train. We didn't know this, so we walked up and down the train looking for it like a pair of idiots.

As we arrived in the train cabin we met our two travelling mates and settled in. One was a young man named Murat, a quiet 20 year old student on his way back to Saint Petersburg (6 days straight in the train) for university. The other man's name I can't remember, because I only called him Big Boss.

Russia has very high import duties on luxury items, e.g. Jeans, Denim Jackets, etc. Big Boss wanted to avoid having to pay those duties, so he brought box loads of these items on to the train and then during the ride, he distributed the jackets amongst the rooms and bags so that it looked like everyone on the train just happened to like denim. We were in the middle of an International smuggling ring... Fucking sweet!

They share Vodka with us, we meet his friend Olzod who used to be an Asian boxing champion and we watch him punch the shit out of any furniture he can find. We share Vodka with him, but it looks like he doesn't need any more.

We arrive at the Russian border at about midnight... The train slows... We are handed customs declaration forms, Big Boss sits there looking at his form and says something to Murat in Mongolian. We then wait, and as the Russian customs inspectors storm on in their boots and uniforms, Big Boss finds the head customs official and they chat, joke and laugh for about 20 minutes. Then our passports are taken away and inspected while we are asked to get out of the room, so walls and ceilings can be unscrewed so they can inspect inside them. They find something in Olzod's cabin next door, so Olzod comes into our room, talks to Big Boss, they get some money out to grease some palms and he leaves.

Altogether we are at the border for about 3 and a half hours. Although I am falling asleep once my stuff is finished. Adam can't as he needs the toilet but it is closed for 30 minutes before and after stations! hahahaha he had to wait!

Next thing I remember is waking up and we are in Russia. The countryside has changed from rolling hills and fields to thick forest. The train pulls in to the station at about 4 in the afternoon and we get to our hotel in Irkutsk, the Paris of Siberia...

Now comes the 3 day train ride! Will update a couple of days worth in Moscow!

permalink written by  Big_T on August 29, 2008 from Irkutsk, Russia
from the travel blog: Big_T's Travel Blog
tagged Train and Smuggling

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How not to get a train

Xi'an, China

Here is an interesting tale - the moral is never to do anything with a hangover. Essentially what you need to know is that I bought a ticket first thing one morning (even before my hostel fry up) and that I was told about two different trains, details of which were scribbled on a piece of paper. Realising that the first train was full, the ticket seller turned over the paper and wrote details of the second train on the other side - I bought a ticket and was happy.

Now, I assumed that the earlier train had no space and therefore I was put onto the one after. Logical no? No. I got to the train station at 19.40, well in advance of my 21.04 train, but strangely it seemed to be boarding. More strange was that I seemed to be one of only two people actually getting the train... and the other person was running. So I ran too. I sprprinted in fact. Next thing I hear a bell ringing and realise that I have to get on the train despite being about 4 carriages short of my bed. A few miserable minutes of sweating my way through narrow, crowded corridors and pissing off entire carriages at a time, I found my bed and collapsed onto it spectacularly in front of five evidently amused chinese men. I took the piece of paper out and looked at the other side. 19.45. Oh well, at least there was no waiting around...

I spent the next 14 hours trying to Pacsafe my bag and get a decent nights sleep without offending the guys around me. I think I managed it because the next morning I was well slept and chatting to a couple of guys from Xian (Xianese?) about how bad we were at speaking each others language:

Me: My Chinese very bad.

Xianese man: My English very bad.

We laugh.

permalink written by  steve_stamp on April 11, 2009 from Xi'an, China
from the travel blog: The art of being lost
tagged Train, Xianese and Ticket

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Day 1: Cleveland, OH- 3:15am

Cleveland, United States

Our train was late and it was cold.

permalink written by  hveidt on April 30, 2009 from Cleveland, United States
from the travel blog: Across the U.S.
tagged Train, Cleveland, Ohio and Early

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On the way to Nara

Takada, Japan

The first weekend in Kansai, my new friends from the office decided to take me to Nara to see the huge temple there and let me play with aggressive deers. I love animals, so I thought any chance to have a one-on-one connection with another creature other than a human being would be refreshing. After all, humans are usually whiny... Animals just stand there in silence. Or when they're not silent, I have no clue what they're saying.

So off the three of us went to Nara, but not without getting lost first. You see, my friends from the office are also new in town. One of them is an intern as well and the other one was just assigned to Osaka around five months ago, so we were all pretty naive about the train system in Japan. And not to mention we were in a hurry and just followed random people like lunatics.

So we got on the wrong JR and took a long detour to Takada, which is a place in Japan that even the Japanese haven't heard of... At least the people in my office have no clue where Takada is. Finally figured it out. You know, maps really do help. I should read them more often.

permalink written by  milkita on December 1, 2009 from Takada, Japan
from the travel blog: Kansai For Business and Pleasure
tagged Train, Japan and Takada

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Jumping on Belarus border

Brest, Belarus

After 24 hours of train, we arrived in Brest, on Poland-Belarus border (not to be mistaken with Brest in France uh !).

The trains in Russia, Belarus and Mongolia have different spacing compared to European standards.So we stopped 3 hours in Brest to change the boggies.

That's still some good time to stretch your legs, buy some Chicken for lunch... and jump of course !

Behind me our Amsterdam - Moscow train.

permalink written by  Sly on September 10, 2010 from Brest, Belarus
from the travel blog: Jumping Around
tagged Train and Jumping

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Jumping in Minsk

Minsk, Belarus

A few hours later, at night, we make a quick stop in Minsk.
Just an occasion to jump in front of the Vienna-Moscow wagon of our train.

In fact, in Warsaw our train coming from Amsterdam got Split in 2: one part went to Vienna and our part got attached to a part coming from Vienna to continue to Moscow.

permalink written by  Sly on September 11, 2010 from Minsk, Belarus
from the travel blog: Jumping Around
tagged Train and Jumping

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Jumping in Perm'

Perm', Russia

Aboard the transsiberian, life is simple for 4 days: eat, sleep, read, talk, take the apero, eat, sleep etc... That's a wonderful time where you end up relaxed as you've never been before.

But when you'll get offered the chance to stop in a station for more than 5 minutes, you come to really appreciate to get off of the train and walk around the platforms.

Perm is mostly an industrial city. But it is also the entry door to famous Oural mountains.

permalink written by  Sly on September 14, 2010 from Perm', Russia
from the travel blog: Jumping Around
tagged TransSiberian, Train and Jumping

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Jumping in Novosibirsk

Novosibirsk, Russia

A little lesson of Cyrillic.
- H = N
- B = V
- C = S
- И = I
- б = B
- P = R
So... HOBOCИбИCK = Novosibirsk !

Novosibirsk, largest city of Siberia (and third largest of Russia), is actually very new as it was created only because of the construction of the TransSiberian railway in the late 19th century. It is now one of the most important industrial centers of Russia.

permalink written by  Sly on September 15, 2010 from Novosibirsk, Russia
from the travel blog: Jumping Around
tagged TransSiberian, Train and Jumping

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