China’s Travel Hell Weeks – John M. Glionna
Jiang Xingjun hates holidays here. Rather than providing respite or relaxation, China’s three national vacation weeks — one observed in winter, one in spring and one in fall — are often more like hell on wheels, with jam-packed planes, trains and automobiles gone berserk, he says.
On cue, hundreds of millions of workers embark on mass pilgrimages to hometowns often located thousands of miles away. In the world’s most populous nation, these so-called golden weeks are like Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and the Fourth of July all rolled into one. That means travel is a struggle for many Chinese vacationers. Plane tickets are precious, with two or three people vying for one seat. Highways are gridlocked. Trains are so crowded that bathrooms become seating compartments, forcing some desperate people to wear adult diapers on marathon trips that take 36 hours one way. [Full Text]
[Image: A passenger climbs into a train at a railway station in Hefei, east China's Anhui province, by Jianan Yu from Reuters.]