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They travel virtually for you

By Xu Lin | China Daily | Updated: 2017-03-29 07:17

They travel virtually for you

Qi Dong poses in front of a train locomotive in Hami, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

While high-speed trains are very popular in China now, Qi has a preference for the "green-skinned train", which is the slow olden-day transport with cheaper tickets but lacks air conditioning. They first hit the tracks in the 1950s; most of them are no longer in use.

He's taken several hundred trips on those trains, where each window view is a miniature of the Chinese countryside.

The experience can be interactive: He once found several chickens under his seat, and villagers in ethnic group costumes will hawk goods such as herbs.

He says some overseas train culture is more developed than that of China, but that's changing. For example, on the Kunming-Lijiang "culture train" (the train is decorated inside out with all kinds of cultural patterns unique to Lijang), travelers can sip a cocktail and sing at a well-decorated karaoke bar.

He has always loved traveling and writing, and in 2012 he started working as a freelancer for print and new media to share his train travels.

"As you don't keep office hours, you need to be self-disciplined," he says.

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