China countrysideOur 1200 mile trek inland from Shanghai to Chengdu by fast train started at 4:45 am by fast taxi. The driver picked us up at our hostel right on time and hurtled through the early morning dark, weaving, honking, accelerating, and braking. It was a Sunday morning and, as we rode, we got to catch a glimpse of the weekend nightlife – just before it had to face the sunrise. We got in line with everyone waiting for the station to open to catch the first trains out for the day. The train station reader boards were not as universally readable as the subway system or international airports and we spent a lot of time squinting at boarding platform designations and figuring out the Chinese characters for “departing” “gate” and “security screening”.¬†Fast train to ChengduOur train was one of the modern fast rail lines and it felt much more like a roomy jet inside than a train. It made the trip in about 14 hours traveling at a speed of 200 kph, (124 mph!) We hurtled through farmlands, over the mountains, through tunnel after tunnel and over bridge after bridge. We flew through torrential rain storms, fog, and even saw a little blue sky. ¬†Most of the trip the outside of our window was too wet or fogged up to take a worthwhile picture, but I was able to capture just a little of the mountainous countryside, farms, and dwellings in these pictures.DSC_0082DSC_0083The intense green, terraced fields and immaculate gardens were so much the imagery we associate with China. It was beautiful! Having worked in agriculture and planted gardens myself I could really appreciate all the daily work those fields and crops represent.DSC_0053 (1)DSC_0048 (1)DSC_0057 (1)DSC_0040 (2)The day ended the same way it started – careening through the dark in a taxi! This driver had all the weaving, honking and braking skills of his counterpart in Shanghai but he accomplished it all while simultaneously chatting casually with his dispatcher over his (definitely not hands free) cell phone. He dropped us off with pin point accuracy and we met the couple we would be house sitting for and, of course, Moose and Matti! DSC_0106