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Soft Sleeper to Shanghai

December 15, 2010

The Chinese passengers gawked at us puzzled and bemused

I heard the tinny strains of the marching song from Bridge Over the River Kwai and thought I heard Sir Alec Guinness flicking a speck of dust from his pin-neat uniform
as he barked orders. But the voice I heard coming from the radio speaker in our ‘soft sleeper’ train compartment was not his. It was a young woman’s voice struggling to
tell us in English that breakfast was ready. It was 6:15 a.m. We were the only English speakers in the car, perhaps on the train, as it raced toward Shanghai from Beijing.

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