Tuesday afternoon we had to say our goodbyes to our new friends from Nankai University. It was a very bittersweet moment as we have exciting new experiences ahead of us from Suzhou to Shanghai. At the same time I was sad to leave Tianjin where we had been welcomed and treated so well by the students. We left Tianjin at 4:30pm and have arrived in Suzhou 14 hours later.
The train brought fresh observations of the limited space and large number of people who travel across the country. We were lucky to have a first class sleeping car for the journey which was about 10ft by 8ft and had 2 sets of bunked beds (4 total). We were very fortunate, as most individuals traveling on this particular train had to sleep 3 high, 6 total beds in the same amount of space as us. This was another reminder of the close spatial boundaries that Chinese people have simply gotten used to. In general I feel that most Americans would find the limited space quite uncomfortable and would be willing to pay much, much more money for the luxury and convenience of having their own "bubble" of space. It was interesting how people have adapted to this limited space in all aspects of daily life and just realized and accepted that with 1.3 billion people, "It is how it is."