Transition between Two Mega Cities
By Maddie Cook
October 19, 2016
“Oh my gosh, I am so excited,” exclaimed trip participant Kate as the group arrived to the train terminal. The bullet train has been a much awaited experience of this trip for many.
The high-speed bullet train travels between Shanghai and Beijing and it is estimated that it transports more than 220,000 passengers daily. The train reaches speeds of 380 kph and has 7-24 different stations along the route, depending on the specific ticket you purchase.
The Young Leaders Group settled into Cart 13 for the six-hour journey to Beijing, the capital of China. To pass the time, we got creative and came up with some activities. Paulina stocked up on some exciting new snacks she bought at the train terminal such as ketchup chips, roasted peanuts, and Sweet Corn Puffs. Kim helped us invent a scavenger hunt. We made a list of things to find in the train and to take a picture to document the proof. Items on the list included jasmine bottled tea for 10 points, someone playing cards for 5 points, and Atlanta paraphernalia for 15 points.
While touring the carts I met other English speaking passengers and asked about their journeys. Martin, from Leverkusen, Germany described his work at a chemical company. Martin travels to Beijing and Tianjin multiple times a year. “If you ask me how many times I take this train ride, I cannot tell you. I would say more than 100 times,” Martin says. When asked why he likes doing business with China, he simply replied and chuckled, “the money.”
I spotted another group of English speaking passengers who were en route to a Model UN Conference. All three of the students attend high school at an international school in Shanghai. They’ve each lived in Shanghai with their families for five years or less and have traveled all around Asia.
As they head into the second half of their sophomore year, they are beginning to explore universities to figure out their next steps after high school. The girl pictured in the middle is from Russia and the boy on the left is from the Czech Republic. They say that they’re thinking of going to a university in either England or the US. The student on the right is originally from Singapore and said he is going back there to serve in the army.
After touring the front of the train, I headed to the caboose and found the snack cart. The menu was varied with snacks, both refrigerated and frozen. Here, I scored scavenger game points because I found many passengers playing cards.
The ride provided a peaceful transition between Shanghai and Beijing. While the group was relieved to arrive at Point B, the countryside scenery provided time to reflect and observe the varied landscape between these two mega cities.
Stay tuned for more! The Huawei Technologies Exhibition Center is up next!
Maddie Cook is a Trade Commissioner for the Consulate General of Canada of the Southeast. She is thrilled to be traveling with the Young Leaders of the World Affairs Council of Atlanta to China for this important mission. This is her second trip to Asia and she’s glad to continue her journey on this continent with China. In her role at the Consulate, she is responsible for connecting Canadian IT and Life Sciences companies to the Southeast U.S. On this trip she hopes to learn about the trade and business opportunities between China, the U.S. and Canada. She is a graduate from the Georgia Institute of Technology and enjoys hiking and swimming.
Homma Rafi | YLFPChina Media Contact
Office of International Initiatives, Georgia State University