I thought the “hard seat” tickets we got from Shanghai to Hangzhou was a pretty bad experience. Not as long, but let’s just say that I had the opposite of traveler’s constipation hit me like a muddy river in a flash flood on the train.

The “facilities” consisted of a curtain and a hole in the floor. The curtain flapped around all over the place because, well, there was a hole in the floor of a train.

It is best advised to remove everything below the waist for a squat toilet due to, ahem, splatter back. So there I am, being whipped in the face by a curtain, squatting over a hole, and occasionally being exposed to the full view of the other passengers.

Since toilet paper is scarce in China, it is advisable to carry tissues. I forgot mine. I had to sacrifice a sock that day, which is on the tracks somewhere around Jiaxing.

The extra few Kuai are worth it for a better train. Trust me on that.