Spring Festival is always a strenuous time for Chinese people returning home caught in the the travel rush. Many people find the train tickets are sold out and have to find a creative way to get home. Last year, ChinaHush reported on the story of “Brother Public Transit” who took 35 different buses to get home.
This year, a Shenzhen teacher named Ms. Sun is garnering Chinese media attention for her trip through six provinces and eight cities on her way from Shenzhen to Shenyang, a trip that she is calling “Mama, Where Are We Going?” (a reference to a popular TV show “Daddy, Where Are We Going?” (《爸爸去哪儿？》)).
Xinhua quotes her as saying, “I couldn’t snatch a ticket for the 21st. The next morning I continued trying to snatch a ticket for the 22nd. My family members and friends and I kept trying so many mornings, but we couldn’t get a train ticket to Shenyang.” Train tickets went on sale each morning at 9 am, but by that time, Ms. Sun said, the website 12306 that sells train tickets was always crashing. (“Snatch tickets” (“抢票”) is a word used in China to describe the challenge of trying to get a ticket for Spring Festival.)
Sina reports the rest of the story:
As Spring Festival approaches, many people worry about not being able to buy train tickets to return home. One Shenzhen teacher, Ms. Sun, staged her own performance of “Mama, Where Are We Going?” She decided on a whim to take her 7-year-old daughter on a trip along the coast of Eastern China, traveling while returning home. “A direct ticket from Shenzhen to Shenyang with a bed costs about 600 yuan. I bought six high speed train tickets and one boat ticket, for a total of 1,337.5 yuan,” Ms. Sun said.
According to the itinerary Ms. Sun developed, on January 16, Spring Festival travel day, Ms. Sun will take her daughter from Shenzhen North Station on the high speed train for four hours to Xiamen, then visit Xiamen for two days. On January 18, they take the high speed train from Xiamen North Station to Hangzhou East Station and visit for two days. On January 20, they take the high speed train from Hangzhou East Station to Shanghai and visit for three days. On January 23, they take the high speed train from Shanghai to Qingdao and visit for two days. On January 25, they take the high speed train from Qingdao to Yantai and visit for one day. On January 26, they take the boat from Yantai to Dalian and visit for one day. On January 27, they take the high speed train from Dalian to Shenyang, arriving home.
Ms. Sun shared her calculations with the reporter, saying there is just a standard train from Shenzhen to Shenyang, and the tickets for the sleepers cost about 600 yuan. She bought six high speed train tickets and one boat ticket, for a total of 1,337.5 yuan. “Although the fare is considerably more expensive, we get to go to so many cities, so it was a good value. Along the way, I will take my daughter with me to live in youth hostels and experience life together. I call my plans, ‘Mama, Where Are We Going?’”
Cartoonist Tiao Tiao (迢迢) illustrated the story with this depiction of the glamorous mother juggling tickets as she leads her daughter down a catwalk: