Magun's Compass - Online Home of Nomadic Gatherings Travel Notes Nomadic Gatherings: Travels in Asia and Australia Nomadic Gatherings Michel Guntern (Author) 6. Northern Capitals - Beijing Departures

Before I left for Harbin, I bought my hard-sleeper ticket to Hohhot so that I had a guaranteed departure date from Beijing when I returned.

The capital of China is one thing to get to, but quite another to leave. I couldn't get a hard-sleeper to Harbin, so to get to the North-East on the day I wanted I paid the extra for a soft-sleeper.

A soft-sleeper, at double the price of a hard-sleeper, has only four berths to a compartment and sliding doors to provide some privacy.

The beds had white sheets; light blue curtains were tied up to the side of a net curtain; on the table was a tablecloth and lamp; and the floor was carpeted.

The compartment still had the piped music, but at least the volume could be regulated or switched off completely. The hot-water flask was a pump-action type, rather than a remove-cap-and-pour. Even the corridor was carpeted in dark red with a black border luxury.

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