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As I sit in the Hangzhou train station I can't help but look at this and marvel.

That big blue board shows the next 26 trains leaving Hangzhou. They all depart in the next 30 minutes. That's nearly a departure per minute loaded with people heading down the tracks at 350 KPH (close to 220 MPH). Even better is the process of getting through security and boarding. I got out of my taxi and went through security in about 10 minutes. It's similar to airport security in the states, but lots more stations to get people through. It's slightly more difficult for a foreigner. I have to find the specific entry gate that allows me to scan my passport. I need to look for the sign that says "MANUAL". The locals all have a National Chinese ID card that they scan to buzz through. There's a conveyor that takes your bags and goes through the X-ray process.

Another aspect that makes this efficient is there a lot of people working to make it so. One person who monitors each card scanning location. Another two to monitor the walk through scanner and sending. And yet another two that are working the X-ray area for bags. Why hire one when you can hire two. It's part of keeping a billion people employed.

So here I sit and wait for an hour as I'm accustomed to US air travel. It's not so bad. I get to people watch and write a bit. I think arriving about thirty minutes before departure would be plenty safe. They don't allow people down to the platforms to load until about 15 minutes before departure. As I've reported in the past, just a sea of tiny people. Granted, this is probably the busiest time each week. It's Friday after work and people are headed out for the weekend.

Foreigner count is at zero so far today. Odd thing, as the train comes into stations along the way there's a digital voice that makes announcements. Of course it happens in Chinese and English. This means the English version is for me and me alone. Aren't I special? Not sure if the next thought was good or bad. I could immediately hear at least five of my friends saying, "Yeah Dave, you're special all right..."

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Looks like less than half are wearing masks, is that accurate?

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David Shick!
David Shick!
14. Mai 2023
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Yes. There's been a drop in mask wearers. The rules are gone, but still have lots wearing masks. On a train back from Shanghai this past weekend I had a lady sitting next to me wearing one. She was noticeably agitated. Not sure why, but my best guess was that I wasn't wearing a mask. Perhaps because I was a giant scary foreigner.

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