The next day on the train to Zhangjiajie it was 20 hours of card playing, taking pictures of the countryside from the window, reading The Idiot and hanging out with the Australian. The landscape as we traveled west looked at times very similar to Korea—rice paddies, small, tile-roofed houses—and at other times far more expansive. The views were larger, everything seemed bigger, more impressive. The fields were vast. The villages, even the small villages, had more houses. The mountains were taller, the rivers wider, the factory towns larger, and the poverty greater. When you leave a Korean city for the country you realize quickly that the people out in the farmlands are still living the same way they did 50 years ago, but you never go very far without running into a town with a coffee shop and a Family Mart. In China, it seemed that there were still great distances between modern and rural life, and the farther we got from Shanghai, the more we felt it. Ours were the top bunks of three, the hard-seat sleepers, and our car was filled with working-class Chinese. They stared at us incessantly. The lights went out at 9 p.m. and with my earplugs in I fell in and out of sleep. I awoke from a nightmare about a Chinese beggar beating me with a large metal bowl and listened to hear if anyone was trying to steal my bag or my camera—thinking about the story the Irishman told me about how he had heard “they” would gas the cars on the Trans-Siberian Express, then come in and steal everyone’s belongings.