As I sit in our hotel room in Guangzhou, I have images running through my mind of what a sleeper train might be like. I imagine a lovely wide carriage with our own little cabin confined to ourselves. I think of a large table in the middle and a great big window you could stare out of into the barren and unknown landscape of China.
I think my imagination might have been sightly influenced by the Harry Potter films and the wonderful Hogwarts Express.
As we get on board the train, we first head to our beds where we shall be sleeping. The beds are stacked in triple bunks and are adequate in size, even for a lanky person like me! I'm on a middle bed in one cabin and Laura is in the next cabin on a top bunk.
Last night was not the most ideal sleeping conditions. I ended up sharing with a lovely local lady, who unfortunately was snoring quite abruptly near my ear all night. Then after she had had a wonderful sleep, she decided at 6am to stop snoring and turn the light on instead, only to look at the time I presume. I'm pretty sure I could have told her that as she had kept me awake for the previous 3 hours. I'm not sure that her and I shall become friends after all.
At opposite side of the carriage there are two fold out seats and a small table situated by a large window. The seating is not the most comforting on the buttocks however they do enable me and Laura to stare out of the window while drinking an unequivocal amount of tea and coffee.
So all being said, its not all bad.
As we look out at the deserts, mountains and blue skies from our window to the world, we know that we shall soon be on our journey in subzero temperatures. I think I may long for the days of sitting on a plank of wood while having my shoulder brushed by half the population of China and drinking a cup of tea.
I'm not sure I'm quite built internally to be locked in a cabin for 48 hours. I can only think that I feel like a dog in the back of a car, longing to just run in the fields that I can see all around me.
On the other hand, Laura seems to be dealing with the journey astonishingly better than me, her positive attitude always shines through. I wonder how she is so relaxed and can only deduce that her experience of these long tedious journeys have taught her to appreciate the time to reflect on other matters, like where we are going on the bikes.
But for a newbie to all this travel, I just cant wait to get on my bike and be in the fresh air!