Brings new meaning to "Hurry up and wait."
January 14, 2009 5:29 PM   Subscribe

Think traveling over the Yuletide season was bad? We're coming hard upon Chunyun, the Chinese "spring migration" when families reunite for the New Year. Enduring largest human migration in the world is a harrowing experience. One railway company has new ticketing strategies, which could turn tickets into collector's items.
posted by grapefruitmoon (8 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
For those who have never been to China this time of year, Chinese New Year is a REALLY BIG DEAL for the Chinese. Like a Thanksgiving holiday that lasts two weeks.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:06 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Don't forget the obligatory link to the yearly story about the rise of adult diaper sales right before this migration. Not a great time to be traveling on the trains around this time of year.
posted by reformedjerk at 7:17 PM on January 14, 2009

Fortunately the global financial crisis has seen workers laid off and struggling to get home much earlier in the year than usual so it probably will be slightly less concentrated in time than recent years, which is great. Err, hang on.
I've managed to avoid it myself most years but do have a memory of taking the only train of the day from a remote mountain station one New Year's Eve. This was the sort of place people came back to rather than left, plus peak travel time was past, so it wasn't the crush that was scary but the station-master rummaging through his massive carrier bag of fireworks with a burning cigarette in his gob.
posted by Abiezer at 9:12 PM on January 14, 2009

Yeah, it happens here in Korea, too, except it's called 설날. I'm not looking forward to the obligatory trip to see the in-laws and pay the family respects that are required. In a country about a quarter the size of British Columbia, more than half of the population will be on the move -- somewhere between 25 and 30 million people, almost all of them by road. A trip that usually takes 2 hours could well end up being 6 hours or longer.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:59 PM on January 14, 2009

Chinese New Year, AKA [boy do we wish it were] Spring Festival. Celebrated in the absolute dead of Winter.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:25 AM on January 15, 2009

We're coming hard upon Chunyun

I have some coworkers who are heading back to China for the New Year, and they've talked about how crazy the migration is. Apparently it's quite something. Nevertheless, I think the most important thing about this post is that lovely turn of phrase.
posted by gurple at 9:08 AM on January 15, 2009

I'm in the middle of Factory Girls, by Leslie T. Chang, right now. It's about female migrants in Dongguan. I'm at the section when the author goes back to a village with one of the women she writes about. The bus rides sound absolutely insane.

The book is pretty great otherwise, too.
posted by sugarfish at 9:32 PM on January 15, 2009

Everyone, I mean everyone - needs to travel through a third world country using the conveyances the natives do. Without such knowledge, you can't understand anything about the world. Honestly.
posted by trii at 7:06 PM on January 17, 2009

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