Monday, June 21, 2004

The Orient Express: Frat Party Train to the Armpit of China

Well we have returned intact from our first foray into travel outside Beijing. This weekend we took an overnight train to Xi An to see the magnificent terracotta warriors. H and I had been joking all week about how it would be like a frat party because all the guys going just wanted to get drunk on the train and act like jerks.

I swear when we return to the US H and I will start working for one of those psychic hot lines because we were so on the money on this one! But first, a word about the train itself. Now last summer H and I trekked across Europe on overnight train after overnight train. And so I was a little apprehensive about this Chinese overnight train. Because the ones in Europe are pretty sketchy so how horrible would this be? To my shock, this train was actually nicer than our hotel. In fact if it had a shower, I would still be on the train just riding back and forth between Xi An and Beijing. Because the train had comfy beds, down comforters, and plasma screen televisions with English language movies!!!! Orient Express indeed.

Back to the frat party. So our companions bring entire cases of beer with them on the train and proceed to get really, really drunk. H and I are sleeping peacefully in our heavenly bunks when at around 12:30 we are awoken by loud English speaking voices right outside our door. The first words I hear are "I'm just saying that my argument is that it is not Roosevelt." In a loud, drunken tone. Then there is more talking, another guy saying that he agrees, it is definitely not Roosevelt. The conversation proceeds for probably close to 10 minutes, mostly in shouts and slurs and we learn that apparently two of the guys almost came to blows because they were trying to figure out which president served two, non-consecutive terms. One was convinced it was Roosevelt, the other equally convinced that it was Garfield. Another guy had to drag one of them out in the hallway before all hell broke lose.

My first thought in the middle of the night was wtf, and who the f cares. This is one thought at this time of the night. My second, more detailed thoughts were since there is no internet on the train, and no trusty set of World Book encyclopedias why would you argue about this knowing there is absolutely no way to confirm who is right and who is wrong. Had I not been on the top bunk I probably would have thrown open the door and kicked some butt, but alas I did not.

The next morning we asked the guys about it and they were like "you actually heard us?" "Well I guess we did move down by your door." All I have to say is this is your brain on beer. Any questions?

Oh and the correct answer was Cleveland. Silly drunk boys.