One Leg of the Journey Is Finished

bya Gabrielle at 5:03 AM

We’ve made it to Hangzhou in one piece, but it wasn’t easy. Of course, nothing in China is easy. And I mean nothing.

Our trip began by carrying 6 pieces of rather heavy luggage down six flights of stairs. We each took a piece down one flight at a time. Even though it was cold enough to see my breath, by the time we were done I was hot enough to take off all of my winter clothes. After catching our breathes at the foot of the stairs and waving goodbye to our lovely abode, we began dragging all of our suitcases to the front gates of the school. We ran into some Chinese folk on the way. In Chinese, they asked us where we were going. I think they were a bit surprised by how much crap we had with us. We left our stuff at the gate so that we could go give our key and gym pass(which we never used – hence why I am a fatty now) to Mr. Zhou. He wasn’t there and the entire English office was asleep. We had to poke Peter, Mr. Zhou’s man servant, and give him our stuff. He looked completely out of it and I think that he may have forgotten how to speak English there for a moment.

Once that was done, we pulled our suitcases up the only hill in Fuyang and down the other side. We didn’t have to wait long for a taxi. It was a bit of a chore getting all of our stuff in the taxi, but we somehow managed. Two in the trunk. Two in the back seat. And our backpacks on our lap. We’ve both gotten pretty good at saying how to get to the bus station that takes us to Hangzhou, so that wasn’t a problem. There is almost always a bus there. It is a popular route, so we more or less jumped right on. At first Phil thought that he had left all of his money at home, and that gave me a heart attack, but he found it. Thankfully.

The hard part began when we actually got to Hangzhou.

It didn’t take us too long to find a taxi. We flagged one down and he asked where we were going. I showed him the address, but he didn’t seem to know where it was. He called a few people, but still didn’t seem to know. I tried telling him that I knew where it was and that I could direct him. He understood a little of what I said, but it didn’t look like we were getting anywhere. Phil tried putting two of our suitcases in the trunk, but only one would fit. The taxi driver already had something back there. So, we then tried putting it in the back seat. That didn’t make him happy. Phil threw one of mine back there anyway and shut the door. For some reason, the guy didn’t want to take us both even though we could have fit everything in like we did in our last taxi. I let the taxi driver look at the card one last time and gave it to Phil. It seemed that we were going to have to separate to get to where we needed to be. I got in the front seat, closed the door, and off we were. A part of me thought that the taxi driver was trying to kidnap me and had been playing dumb the entire time just to get me alone. Thankfully, that was not the case. He did manage to get me to the PSB. When I got all of my stuff out of the taxi, I made sure to look at my watch. If Phil wasn’t there in the next 15 mintues – I was going to flip out. It wasn’t too long before another taxi showed up and Phil appeared. Whew.

I grabbed the receipts that we had gotten a week before and ran up to the second floor of the PSB while Phil watched the luggage. I got in line at one place, but was soon directed to another line. I went to that line, and was told something in Chinese I didn’t understand. The girl in line next to me said that she told me to wait for a minute. So I did. A few minutes passed, but nothing happened. I waved my receipts again to get someones attention, and was told to take a seat – that someone would call my name. My first thought was, ” These people don’t even know my name!!” I sat down anyway. A few minutes passed, and then a few more, and finally I couldn’t take the fact that 50 other Chinese people had gotten in line and received their documents. I marched back up to the counter and demanded that I get our passports. The lady didn’t say a whole bunch, but when she got done stapling some weird papers together – she ripped the papers out of my hand and stalked off. Not even 5 seconds later she had both passports in hand, told me how much they cost, I paid and out the door I went. It was so frustrating that it took that long to get something that simple.

We had to get another taxi to get to our hostel for the night. I flagged down maybe 5 or 6 taxis and they each told me “no” they wouldn’t take me. There was no way we could roll our stuff there. By this point, I just wanted to scream. It was cold, drizzling, and I was hungry. More taxis went by, and none would agree to take us. Phil flagged one down, and even though the guy was confused on where we wanted to go – he let us put all of our stuff in his taxi. We made it to the hostel, as you can tell since you are reading this. We were so happy that we tipped the taxi driver and said thank you about 100 times.

If only that was the end of the story, but it isn’t. We got a room on the 3rd floor and there was no elevator. We were lucky, though. There was this little Chinese girl that insisted on helping us take it up stairs. We told her we could do it, but she still insisted. With all of our powers combined, we got everything to our room. I gave the gril10 RMB even though she probably deserved more. I just didn’t have any other small bills on me. She said thank you, and off she went.

For dinner we went to Pizza Hut and had dessert at TCBY. It was yummy. Ever so yummy. After that we came home(hostel) and crashed.

The real humdinger will be later today when we go to the train station. As long as they let us take all of our stuff on board, it shouldn’t be a problem. But like I said before. Nothing in China is easy. Nothing. At least if all goes semi-well, I will have 13 hours to calm down before we hit the next leg of our journey . . . Beijing.

– G

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