The Last Train Ride and the Magic of Mahjong
Even though I was sad for my lost camera, this last train ride in China turned to be the best train journey we had.
We were not looking forward to another 15 hour train ride, with loud people talking late at night and early in the morning or vendors strolling by us every 5 minutes. I didn’t feel like walking to the end of our cabin to make sure people were not smoking inside and/or close the door if they were doing it.
Luckily, we bought our tickets as soon as we got to Guilin so we were able to get the bottom berth with the side table. We decided to play Mahjong. We had so much fun with Gloria and Checker that we bought a mini set in Guilin. Little did we know, that this game would change our whole train experience.
All the sudden, we had a bunch of people surround us and watch us play mahjong… we barely knew the rules. Then one girl asked us to play with us. while we were playing, Ryan would take his time, so another girl started advice him what to do. Later we asked her to play with us. It was pretty nice to meet all these people, trying to talk to us with their broken english. One of the spectators, Albert, a college student was fluent in english and helped translate conversations. Another girl took some pictures with her cellphone, so I quickly exchanged emails so Sweety (her western name) would email them to us. Without knowing, we became the annoying loud neighbours you always want to avoid. At 10pm, lights go off and everybody said goodbye. We had a great time.
The next day, we called again the two girls we were playing the day before. we got to talked a little bit more. Just before arriving to Shanghai, they asked us to take pictures with us. (it is very common for Chinese to want to take pictures of foreigners, even if you don’t know them) We exchanged emails and names…but they had not adopted any western name, so Ryan and I gave them some names. Mei Mei became May and Guo Yanzhi became Jenny. Any person in China that studies english and/or works in the tourist industry gets a western name. May and Jenny also emailed us their pictures!
When we arrived to Shanghai, Jenny and May walked us all the way to the exit and gave us directions to get to our hotel.