My last experience taking the overnight train was in Europe two years ago with the San Francisco Boys Chorus. We swung around the French Riviera while warding off thieves on board trying to steal from innocent boys in unlocked cabins. Well, last night, I boarded my second “sleeper” train from Shantou to Shenzhen. This time, thieves were not an issue but apparently boiling hot water was. While I’m unsure of the details since I was three cabins away, I believe someone spilled boiling water on on a woman’s head giving her severe burns. As she ran down the train shreaking and blood dripping everywhere, I woke up from what was a rather pleasant sleep. The two gentlemen who I was sharing the cabin with took it upon themselves to investigate the situation. Each one took turns going out to do reconaissance and then reporting back to the cabin. The train’s crew were trained enough in first aid to 1) cool the burn and then 2) apply bandages. The woman got off at the next stop wrapped in sleeper linen. One thing that the train staff didn’t quite get is cleaning up the blood. They really needed to keep people away from re-entering the cabin until they sterilized the area.
I managed to cross the border without incident. Now, I am at my family’s apartment “taking a rest” before having lunch and departing for Phnom Penh.