Friday, July 28, 2006

Choo Choo Train, Chugging Up The Track

Dozens of passengers strap on oxygen masks, some experience bloody noses and a few lose their lunch. Pens spit their ink and potato chip bags expand until some burst their seams with the dramatic drop in atmospheric pressure.
Does that sound like a disaster? All aboard the Beijing-Lhasa Express. It's a 2,500 mile journey that hits a high at 16,640 feet (Tanggula Pass), which explains the bloodied noses and exploding potato chip bags.

But it's not all bad. The sights promise to be spectacular: "Tibetan antelopes, wild donkeys, yaks and sheep grazed on wide open plains carpeted with spongy, bright green turf. In the distance, mountains rose up to the sky, their caps blindingly white with snow." (What, no sighting of the Meh-Teh"?)

If you are like me and are thinking, "forget the view and the journey, what about the toilets?", I've got two words for you: "squat toilet". Just spare a thought for that intrepid mountaineer walking up the slopes of the Tanggula Pass as the train happens to roll by.

There. I am dreaming of trains and squat toilets. Mr. Theroux's excellent book shall be read again.


Tabula Rasa said...

sounds like quite a journey, doesn't it? but it also heralds one of the last great colonial expansions. the areas around the railway track have become commercialized multiple-fold within the last few weeks. case in point: "5500" brand beer, named for the altitude at which the water used for brewing is harvested.

km said...

That's always the disheartening bit, isn't it? I bet we will soon hear stories of ecological threats, pollution etc around that region. In fact, there has already been quite a bit of environmental protest about this project. But then, there's the staggering awesomeness of the journey.

GhostOfTomJoad said...

While I admire the Chinese spirit, I also wish the buggers would get out of Tibet so I could go and visit...whenever that may be!

On a different note, sir, I'm quite willing to ignore your recent indiscretions (about ketchup and werewolves, etc) if you could tell me where I may find Dylan's 'Tonight Can I Stay With You' to download


kundalini said...

ghost, if this is the same as "tonight i'll be staying here with you", i have it. let me know if you havent found it yet, and i can put up the mp3/email the track to you.

km said...

Ghost, amen to those "buggers" getting the hell out of Tibet.

While I am glad that you are willing to forgive and forget my recent indiscretions, I'm sorry to say I do not have an MP3 copy of the that song. Though I'm pretty certain I have it on CD (isn't it on one of the compilations or Nashville Skyline? Jeebus. Haven't heard that album for ages now!)

Anonymous said...

Here are some links that I believe will be interested

Anonymous said...

Your site is on top of my favourites - Great work I like it.

Anonymous said...

Greets to the webmaster of this wonderful site. Keep working. Thank you.