My Arrival in Beijing
Arrival in Beijing
When you stop walking…. Sit down on your knees… And just laugh at yourself…. You know you have no idea what is going on!!
My arrival in Beijing is one I will remember the rest of my life!!
It all started with a 29 hour train ride from Nanning to Beijing, that was… Well lets jus say… Not enough space for even a small guy like me! Took the hard sleeper ( for those that dont know, a hard sleeper is a 6 people compartment with six beds ), and I got the top bed.. You can just climb up, force yourself in sleeping position and try to go to sleep. You cant sit upright. Well that was actually ok, because for the last month my traveling overnight on a bus or train was quite good.
In the 29 hours I finished Riaan Manser’s second book ( around Madagascar with my kayak ), did more planning for my…. surprise for when I get back home…. and got a bit of sleep.
On my arrival in Beijing there was a few things that I needed to sort out before heading to a hostel.
1 – Draw money
2 – Buy my ticket to Shanghai and my return ticket (should have been two separate ones, one cheap and one speed train back) but did not work out like that
2 – get some food ( because I did not eat a good meal in two days) !!!
3 – figure out where im gonna stay ( because until this point on my 3 month Asia journey, I never planned where I was going to stay before I arrive), this means find a wifi spot. And in China you would need to buy at least a coffee or cool drink to sit somewhere
4 – get to my hostel!!
It all sound easy… but damm man was I wrong this time.
When I got out of the train, heading in the normal direction… the way everyone is walking. They got me outside and from there the fun started!!
Long story short… When you walk for 20km in a radius of 500m, you know you have no idea what is going on!! Well I’ll will tell the long story!!
1 – Draw some Ching Ching… After looking for about 15 minutes I found a ATM, but you cant draw money with a Visa card, so I continued to look for another one. This is where I just had no idea what was going on. Chinese signs everywhere!! So I floated down the streets for about an hour without any luck ( found two other banks, but cant use Visa ).
I then decided that I just want to go and book my one train ticket to Shanghai. I had enough money for that ticket and they say you need to book well in advance, so I hurried back to book the ticket.
So here I found 4 more ATM’s… And yet again guess what… O well… Whatever!!!
2 – I hate standing in lines!!! Hate it!!! Got to the ticket office with about 30 lines. Standing in the first one for about 30 minutes. When I finally got in front the lady could not speak one word of English! ( and don’t think with the ATM scenario I did not ask around for directions!! No one understand any English!! )
So after standing in two more lines, someone finally told me to stand in line 6, because that lady can speak English (I say… Some English ).
Finally got in front… And then the cheap tickets were sold out!! Damm bro, come on!! So I had to buy a speed train ticket to Shanghai ( a big cut out on my budget at this point of my journey ). So the ticket was ¥553.. And I had… ¥558! Ooooooo sh*t!!!!!
– great im going to Shanghai!!
– now I just have ¥3 left… O shit!!
So now I cant get a coffee or cold drink to have wifi access. Mmmm interesting!!! So yet again I started to wander around in my 500m radius! Had no idea what to do! First time on my trip I got this feeling!
Well at least Im going to Shanghai in a few days ( to tick one of the top things off of my bucket list!!! Not Shanghai…….. But…….. ) and if push come to shuff I can find somewhere safe to sleep in the Train station and tell them im waiting for a train. But that was not really a option. Only a last resort!!
No money, no internet access and absolutely no one can understand English… So I started walking up and down the same street again… As if a bank will pop up out of nowhere!!
And at this point… I was on my knees and laughing at myself!!!! Everyone stared at me but I did not care a bit!! This was soooo funny!!!! What is happening!!!
And then finally!!! Someone in one of the banks could speak some broken English!! And I got directions to a Visa ATM!!! F*ck yea!!
Got my money and headed straight to the ticket lines again.. Because I need to find a speed train back the 15th to catch my plane back to South Africa the 16th… But at 1am….
Got in to the front of the line very quick, and by now I had a good idea what worked to speed up the broken english from the previous ticket… Take out my iPad.. Write in big letters exactly the ticket I want and show it to the lady that can understand a bit of English. It went smoothly and I was so glad when I had my ticket in my hand and I headed off….. But when I got out of the line I just felt like I should maybe put my passport back deep in my backpack for safety reasons…
After struggling for 5 minutes to unlock my locks, untie all the things on my backpack, I finally got my passport safe and secure. And then a guy and a old lady came up to me.. Could not speak a word of English, but then at my amazement the guy took out my iPad!!! I was like o shit… Noooo !! When I showed the lady at the counter what ticket I wanted, I put my iPad against the window while talking out my money!! For the first time on this trip I forgot something somewhere! And people that know me will say.. Really!! The first time!!!
I was so happy!! I thanked them with a face I believe they would understand how I appreciate it and how glad I am ( because they could not understand english off coarse). Earlier in the day I was thinking… Today is the day I cant afford to lose my iPad!! I had 5 days of really hard work and planning on my iPad and did not make any backups!!
The day got better by that moment!! Tickets to and from Shanghai, got money and I lost my iPad and someone brought it back to me!! And just after that I found out my rugby team, The Cheetahs won their local derby against the Stormers!! Awesome!!
So… Where am I going to stay… The sun is getting close to saying its goodbye
So now I was on my walking path again…. Up and down…. Up and down… Trying to find someone that can understand some English. At some point I got a Wifi connection as I past a restaurant, so finally I knew were I was and where I should go.
My Hotel was 7km away… So, as the adventurer I am, I decided… Skrew this no English speaking people… and start my long walk!!! (but I still have to say everyone was so friendly and trying to help!!,,, local people, police, security guys, hotel managers, stall owners… Everyone… Well try tried and it did not work)
So just after an hour I finally got to my Hostel!! And the hostel was much cheaper than I expected! Boe ja!!! Now im gonna have some R12 Big Beers and chill!!!!!!