The past two days, I have just been relaxing. Really, the whole reason I came on this trip was to relax. Obviously I want to see stuff while I'm here, but there's not much to see while Hubby's at work. Tomorrow I'm going to the city of Jinan with the wife of a guy Hubby works with. She has a friend who speaks Chinese and is going to take us shopping.
Now, I promised I'd talk about the train. We left from the new Beijing South train station. Here's a picture of it:Doesn't it look like a giant spaceship that landed in the middle of the city? It's really nice inside, too. And the train was very comfortable. We had first class tickets, which meant more space and seats that leaned back - you can kind of see them in the picture above. Starting out from Beijing, we were traveling at something like 270 km/hr. I'll let you do that math, but that's pretty fast. The speed varied, though. It seemed like most of the trip we were going somewhere around 160 km/hr, slower when we got near towns. It took 3 1/2 hours to get to Taian from Beijing.
I also promised I'd talk about toilets. Feel free to stop reading here. Hubby had warned me, but when you gotta go, you gotta go. Most public toilets here are odd. (By the way, I've never seen so many public toilet signs in a city. Almost every block, there's a sign.) Imagine a toilet bowl mounted in the floor, with treads on either side to keep your feet from slipping. You just squat down over it. There is usually no paper, and if there is, you put it in a little trash can after using it, not in the bowl. Even on a moving train, this is the type of toilet I had to use. It's... different.
In the hotel, of course, we have a normal toilet, with paper and everything. Some restaurants also have normal toilets. But in general, if we're out and about I try to avoid going. I guess tomorrow in the city I won't have a choice. Wish me luck!