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.