Saturday, August 2, 2008

All day long on a train

Leaving Eastern Turkestan

We spend the day today in the train. Dad has no reason to wake me up at the crack of dawn so he lets me sleep. When I wake up, it’s 10 am and I slept for 10 hours! What a luxury! I needed it. Looking around me I see no one in the compartment. I look out the window and see that the train has stopped at a station. I figure that I probably woke up from the screeching brakes. I hear fruit and juice vendors that stroll around the train stations. They shout to sell their products. I wonder, since dad loves everything that’s fresh, if he didn’t go on the platform to buy some fruit. I climb down from the top bunk. At that moment, dad arrives with fruit and says to me: “Well, you’ve slept well.” The fruit that dad likes the most has roughly the same shape as a pear and is yellow. It’s called “the fruit of long life.” It’s a juicy and thick-skinned fruit without pits. But dad says that he has it more for its taste than its name. As for me, I really do hope that he will have it, “the long life.” I eat one but I don’t like it at all. It tastes so awful that it makes me want to vomit. Then Liu Jia takes out hazelnuts form her bag and hands me a nutcracker to open them: they provide a nutcracker in the bag. Dad and I love these hazelnuts. They’re larger, less fatty and crunchier than the ones we find in France. I climb back on my bed and listen to music while writing my texts. I love listening to music. I listen to Jacques Brel but also to Mika or the rapper Soprano. What I like the most in style of music is Rap: there’s rhythm, the lyrics express a desire to express oneself and to revolt against the workings of today’s society. And that’s good. I also listen to some American Rap. One of my best friends, Sam, does Rap and I listened to what he does. I think that he’s a real artist and with other friends, like Davy, if they form a group they could do something really good. I also listen to a Persian music group called Black Cats. It’s an Iranian group. Not everyone knows it, so I’m going to talk to you about it. It’s an Iranian Pop/Rap band that have very nice love lyrics, but also in other domains with a very good rhythm. The songs are sung by a friend of mine named Kamyar. Basically, he’s one of my cousin Aydin’s best friends and they grew up together. I met him and now we get along really well, but since he lives in Los Angeles I don’t get to see him very often. Kamyar’s a cool guy. The funny thing is both he and Aydin are into music, but two totally different styles: Aydin does traditional music while Kamyar is into modern music. But Kamyar considers Aydin a master of music. They were both part of a group three good friends. The third is called Parsa and ten years later they’re still best friends in the whole world. That’s what fascinates me about friendship. I like all three like big brothers. They each have a different character. Every time I talk to them, I learn something new. After two hours of writing my texts and listening to music, my battery runs out and my text is finished. So I shut everything off and sit in front of the window to watch the landscape. The window curtain represents nomads on the Silk Road with their walking camels and since the train moves forward, we have the impression that they’re also moving forward and can imagine many stories. We get the impression that they’re going up and down the mountains, crossing deserts and stopping in cities when the train stops. What’s funny is that we’re doing a journey by train, on the Silk Road and in the train the curtain’s motifs illustrate well our trip. It fascinates dad. The landscapes repeat themselves. I climb down and listen to music with Liu Jia. Actually, since she has a French song on her computer, I play it and ask her to sing. Her accent makes me laugh and makes dad laugh too. After, we listen to it a second time and I explain her mistakes and the third time it’s perfect. I also see that she has the entire movie “Les Choristes” on her computer. I find that funny and watch it a bit. I start to get hungry and go to the dining car to buy a box with noodles inside, mini pieces of meat and powdered pepper. It’s a soup packet that you add hot water to. Without knowing that it’s hot pepper powder, I put all of it in my bowl and when I go to drink the broth I find it too spicy. When I finish my soup, it’s around 11pm and we have to get off because we’re arriving in Xi’an. We get off the train and since we have a lot of luggage, a porter helps us. We arrive downstairs with Liu Jia but dad and Yang Dong stayed on the platform to take photos and film. After fifteen minutes, they come down and we head towards the exit. We arrive in front of the train station. There, it’s as though there’s a tsunami of taxi drivers that want to swallow us. Finally, we go into a taxi and for the first time it’s a woman driver. After five minutes we arrive in front of the hotel and dad asks the taxi driver to pick us up in the morning at 10:30 to take us to the airport. We check in for the night and ask if there’s Internet. As an answer, they give us a small box that contains connecting wires. We go to the room and I ask dad if I can go online. He says yes. A half hour later he decides to go downstairs to take pictures and asks me to go to bed. But before going to bed, I check to see who is connected to MSN and there I see my cousin Tchekad who is a year older than me. I’m glad to be talking to him because on top of being my cousin, he’s also one of my best friends. I chat, and chat, and am still chatting with him when dad comes back and since he sees me still in front of Internet, he’s not happy and asks me to turn it off. Since I have to, I say goodbye to Tchekad and go to bed.

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