Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Fakir trains

Sweden happens to be one of the world’s most centralized countries. Basically all political and economic power radiates out from Stockholm which, in turn, creates the need for early morning connections from the different parts of the country so that people can make it in time to their Very Important Meetings in the capital.

Thus, when I was living in south Sweden a decade ago, there was much talk about the so called “fakir train”, leaving Malmö sometime around 6 a.m. in the morning. Well, I guess everything is relative because in the new winter timetable, the first high-speed service to Stockholm now departs Umeå at the ungodly hour of 04:19 a.m.

Having a slightly masochistic streak, I of course had to try it out when SJ had a flash sale with 50% off in first class. While I intend to primarily use the trip to work on my book chapter, the fakir theme inspired me to bring along nothing less than Paul Theroux’s classic travelogue The Great Railway Bazaar.

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