Don't drink the "drinking water"
It's something that has to happen to everyone traveing in a place like China but you hope that it happens in a place with a nice bathroom. I made the mistake of assuming that the "drinking water" that was labeled and available for the taking at the train station at Guangyuan was somehow treated or even just boiled but I think in the back of my mind, I thought I had been here long enough to handle it even if it wasn't... but I was very, very wrong. I unfortunately couldn't get a bed on the train from this random town to Xian so I had to go for a hard seat for the 12 hour overnight ride ... which would have been tolerable if I hadn't started to feel a bit off at around 3:30am. I went to the toilet - which can make you sick just by going in it - and realized I wasn't going back to my seat for a while. Make that 2 hours - literally. People were banging on the door but I think they eventually got that I wasn't coming out. Luckily there was a window in there... and it was in fact a bit better in there air-quality-wise than in the train cabin itself. When I thought I was "done" I went back to my seat but after all the smells of chicken feet, ramen noodles, sweaty people (some were sleeping on the floor under the seats) and whatever else I found myself back in the toilet for another hour... I got absolutely no sympathy from anyone - they all completely ignored me - except for one really cute old lady sitting cross from me... looked like my grandma... and she would give me little pick-me-up smiles when I got back to my seat from each bathroom trip. Everyone else... well, I could have been invisible to them even when I didn't make it to the bathroom in time and ended up throwing up in the trash can... no one seemed fazed by any of it. Needless to say, it was a hard lesson learned and I was very glad (and very weak) by the time I got to Xian. :( Obviously, no photos are needed for this post. Had to wait a few days before I was feeling good enough to laugh about the whole thing and write about it! So... if you come to China, the "drinking water" - even if it's written out in English letters, is just for them - not for us. ;)