I have been reading articles about the rise of high-speed trains in China. I am amazed by how quickly everything is changing and how China is always creating better and faster trains.
I still remember my first train ride here.
I was on holiday in China in an organized group. We took a night train from Guilin in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to Xi'an in Shaanxi Province. It was quite an experience.
There were three beds to a wall. The guide showed us the character for lower, middle and top bed.
Then, I saw the "real" Chinese life. Most Chinese had packages of instant noodles with them. There was always hot water on the train, so they can make the noodles and have hot water to drink.
Taking that train gave me a deep insight into Chinese life.
When I lived in Yangshuo, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, I had to take the night bus a lot. I could never sleep on the night bus. It was quite uncomfortable as the beds were small, the smell on the bus was not fresh and it was not dark enough because of the streetlights.
So, it was always a drag to travel by night bus, and the trip lasted at least eight hours.
For over a year, there has been a high-speed train that goes from Guangzhou in Guangdong Province to Yangshuo in a little over three hours.
I took it once, and it is clean, fast and very comfortable. A screen shows how fast the train is going. I love that, even now that I live in Shenzhen in Guangdong Province, I can go to Yangshuo easily for just a couple of days without wasting time on other types of transportation.
This is evolution! This is modern progress. But, even though China is getting better connected and I can go to places faster, I also feel something is lost. I don't see the traditional travel style anymore. The trains are very modern, and the Chinese are all quiet and looking at their phones the whole time. There are almost no instant noodles, talking or noise.
So, the high-speed trains are a great means to connect China and to help the country develop in a bigger and faster way. But, because of that, a part of Chinese travel culture will be lost. People are not social anymore; our lives are becoming more and more digital, and more and more in a rush.
This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.