One of the not-so-secret secrets about China is how great the train system is. Especially when compared to air travel (here's looking at you, Shenzhen airport), the train system is reliable, clean and inexpensive. And the Harmony line is making it extremely fast as well. Combine that with the convenience of showing up 15 minutes before departure at a downtown terminal and we think you'll agree: the train is the best way to travel domestically.

That said, China Rail workers are not exactly known for their command of the English language. So to take advantage of the rail system you really need to know mandarin. Which is where this podcast comes in. So listen up and then practice, practice, practice with weekend trips. And with all of the money you save on air travel, buy a subscription and accelerate your learning even more.
 said on
January 12, 2009
Nice lesson. I much prefer the train to flying here as well. Only part of it is the convenience though. The other part is the way air travel is so price competitive in China. I don't really want to start thinking about how they are cutting costs when we are 20,000 feet up and going through rough turbulence in preparation for landing.

Once ended up circling above Beijing for about an hour in that sort of weather. Still not sure what the problem was, but was very glad when we landed.
 said on
January 12, 2009
Nothing gives me more confidence in flying than when the airlines start auctioning off extra tickets to their captive economy class passengers mid-air. I've experience this twice to date now.

Interesting approach to doing business, but leaves the impression that we'd riding high on fumes. Even with that, I love Chinese airlines for the absurdity of the meal service. I haven't been on a single flight where lunch hasn't involved seven layers of shrinkwrapped dried squid and a bun.

 said on
January 13, 2009
Wow. The speed of that dialogue is daunting. I'm gonna go back and skulk around the Absolute Beginner lessons for a few more years...
 said on
January 13, 2009
It's just Chinese New Years in action, Frank. You've only got a few seconds to buy that ticket before you're trampled by the masses.

Train travel around the holidays is natural selection in action. Practice saying it at speed and you should have it down pretty quickly.
 said on
January 13, 2009
Frank, it took me by surprise too. I managed to understand 车票 and how many and then he was already saying 后面的.

And I thought I was a solid intermediate student...

On the other hand I really like the challenge, hopefully it'll give me the upper hand when needed.
 said on
January 14, 2009
David, I think I'll just hunker down through the New Year's festivities and save my traveling for when it's over. Maybe by next New Year I'll have a prayer of handling this!

Lunetta, I know the feeling! I was especially surprised because I know things are a little tougher here, so I read through the dialogue before listening so I can get a leg up and it STILL went by me so fast it sucked the dents out of my car. LOL
 said on
January 14, 2009
This dialogue *is* fast. What happens if they break the sound barrier?

your name:

leave a comment: