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    Pulau Derawan, Indonesia


    Live from the train to the roof of the world

    September 29th, 2007 by steve

    September 27th, depart Xining in Western China
    10:15pm The “hard sleeper” cars on this train are crazy. Six bunks stacked 3 high in a narrow compartment with no door.

    September 28th, somewhere on the rails to Lhasa
    6:30am A thin band of sky sandwiched between the endless horizon and the low clouds is glowing a radiant yellow as sun rises over Tibet.

    7am The cabin lights come on and the overhead speakers shout something at us before playing Chinese opera music. I guess it’s time to get up.

    10am We’re running through snowcapped peaks. I’m sure our photos will show nothing but the intense white of the snow fading into the soft white of the clouds that blanket us.
    12:15pm Mary and John can no longer handle the beauty. They retreat to their bunks to hide out for a while and see if they can shake the altitude sickness.

    2:30pm Some people absolutely love riding trains. I’m finding it totally frustrating. Every time I pick up a book or startup the laptop, some amazing scenery shows up and I have to run and get the camera. It’s really distracting. Worst part is that the only windows that open are in the bathrooms. Yech.

    3pm John is still sleeping and Mary feels a bit queasy. I had a little shortness of breath quite a while ago, but it’s been ok for a couple hours. I think we’ve already hit the 17,000 foot pass and should be heading back down, so hopefully they start feeling better soon.

    3:20pm I just finished a whole package of wasabi peas. I’ve already finished catching up on our China photos and there’s nothing left to do but eat and sleep!

    4:30pm The plains just go on and on. Mary and John are still feeling a bit unwell and are back into bed. It’s truly beautiful here, but it just keeps going! I’m almost bored with the constant beauty.
    6pm Mary is feeling worse and John is still asleep. I just put her on oxygen to fight the altitude sickness. I’ll go wake John up in a few minutes and get him on O2, too.

    8:30pm The sun has gone down and left a brilliant royal blue background to the black mountains around us. It’s a beautiful sight. Mary hasn’t gotten any better with the O2 and both of them are still asleep. It’s been a lonely day for me!

    September 29th – Lhasa
    12:15am Finally in bed! The train arrived by 11, but it took us half an hour to gather our gear (and Mary and John) and get out of the station. Luckily, the frantic hostel owner waited for us even though all other passengers and the train crew were already gone.

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