Mar
30
2010

The Worst Cab Ride Ever

bya Gabrielle at 11:15 AM

The other night, Phil, Bo, and I decided to take a midnight run to McDonald’s to grab some burgers and hot fudge sundaes.  I had been craving a sundae for at least a week and really wanted to get one.  We probably should have just stayed home and gone to bed because our physicals were the next day and we had to get up at the crack of dawn, but we just could not say no to the American arches.

So, we did what any sensible, hungry American without a car would do; we hailed a taxi.  We had only done this a hundred other times, so we weren’t worried that we wouldn’t make it to our destination.  Linyi only has one McDonald’s and everyone and his brother knows where it is.  Or so we thought.  The first taxi we saw didn’t acknowledge us, but that was fine because another one was right behind it.

The particular cab that we jumped in only had one working head light and the body of the car felt like it was held together by a few strings of imagination. A few snips here and few snips there, and I think we would have had a Flintstones moment.  We all hopped in and told the driver that we wanted to go to Mai Dang Lao.  He repeated our destination and off we went.

Everything started out just fine.  The taxi was going in the right direction and we were getting closer and closer to fast food bliss, but then we noticed that the taxi driver passed the normal turn and then another turn that he could have taken, even though it would have been a little out of the way.  And then we were no where near where we needed to be.  Just as we were about to speak up and say something, the taxi driver did a u-turn and started back the way we came.

Again, the taxi driver passed the normal turn.  We looked down at the taxi meter, saw that it read 20 yuan and decided that if he happened to get us to the golden arches, he was only going to get 10.  The three of us were completely baffled.  We had no idea where he was taking us.  It seemed as though he was taking us back to the school.  Finally, he pulled over  . . . but not next to McDonald’s.  Instead, he brought us to another fast food joint open 24 hours a day – Mr. Lee’s.

This was mind boggling.  Bo, who was sitting up front, repeated our destination, but the taxi driver just stared at him.  Then Bo mentioned the land mark right next to McDonald’s, People’s Square.  The taxi driver perked up and repeated People’s Square in Chinese.  He was all smiles, like he finally knew where he was taking us.  If only.

The taxi driver started driving again, but instead of doing a u-turn, he continued down the same road that would take us back to our school.  Within a few minutes, we passed the school’s gates.  At this point, we were pretty pissed off.  This guy was taking us on a joy ride.

I leaned up behind his seat and asked him in Chinese if he knew where we were going.  He didn’t respond.  I asked him again.  Same thing.  I asked him over and over again, every time my voice becoming more serious.  It was as though I wasn’t even there.  Phil started yelling stop in Chinese.  Again, nothing.  I was beginning to get worried, and asked Phil if we should call the police.  Phil began to considerate it an option.

Phil asked Bo to try and get his attention, and finally, the driver pulled the wax out of his ear’s.  He finally seemed to understand that we were rather pissed off and stopped the car.  We weren’t too far from the school, but we were down one of those roads that I only like taking in the day – one that isn’t likely to get a lot of traffic at 12:30 in the morning.   Phil told us to get out, and we didn’t argue.

I think it was pure luck that another taxi showed up as we stepped out.  We frantically waved him down.  As soon as he came to a stop, we jumped in.  We told him where we wanted to go, but he sat and stared at us for a minute.  He was obviously confused with what was going on.

Our crazy taxi driver decided to get out of his car and started yelling at our new driver.  I wish for all the world that I knew what he was saying.  They exchanged a few words, but our taxi didn’t budge.  Our new driver looked over at Phil, who was now in the front seat and said something, God only knows what.  Phil began telling him, with his limited Chinese, what had happened and that the guy standing in front of our taxi was one crazy man.  A few more words were exchanged and the crazy taxi driver walked over to Phil’s window.  Why our driver did what he did next, I don’t know, but it made me very, very nervous.  He rolled down Phil’s window.  The two began exchanging words.  It was pretty obvious what he wanted.  He wanted his 28 yuan.

Phil is a pretty patient fellow, but at this point he was about ready to strangle this guy.  So, he did what any sensible, angry American would do.  He threw a few f-bombs out the window. It’s amazing what a f-bomb will do.   Perhaps sensing that he wasn’t going to win this battle, the crazy taxi guy turned around and headed back to his car.

Phil told our newly acquired taxi driver again where we wanted to go, and off we went.  Ten minutes later, we were sitting at McDonald’s wondering why in the world it hadn’t been that easy it the first place.

Categories: China,Chinese,Humor,Linyi
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Mar
23
2010

Time for New Soles

bya Gabrielle at 7:13 AM

Today during our two hour lunch break, Bo and I went to the shoe repair guy outside of the school’s gate to see if it was possible to fix the bottom of Bo’s shoes.  His soles were looking pretty worn.  When we got there, another woman was getting her boots done, so we had to wait.   I thought it would be a good idea to ask how much it was because there would be no point in waiting if he quoted us some ridiculous price.  When I asked him, he paused for a moment as though he were thinking of a price.  The woman waiting on her boots to be finished perked up and said something to the man.  He looked at her and said a few more things and then she turned back to us and said 2.5 in English.  This sorta surprised me.  I hadn’t expected either one of them to speak English and it was cheaper than I thought it would be.  2.5 yuan is like .37  cents.  Do you have any idea how much it costs to repair soles in the US?  Not .37 cents.   We decided to wait.

Bo

Guy fixing Bo's shoes.

Guy fixing Bo's shoes.

It didn’t take the guy long at all to finish the woman’s boots and then it was Bo’s turn.  He sat down on the little stool the guy had provided and took off his shoes.  The guy took them and went straight to work.  In a few short minutes, the guy had resurfaced the worn places on the shoe and handed them back to Bo.  We asked him one more time how much it was just to make sure.  For a second, I thought he meant 2.5 yuan for each shoe, and that would have been fine, but he repeated his earlier statement.  Bo slipped on his shoes and stood up to test them out.  He said that they felt great and that maybe he should bring all his shoes to get fixed in China.  Yep, that is my plan, too.

Boots to be repaired.

Categories: China,Chinese,Linyi
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Mar
21
2010

Random Pictures

bya Gabrielle at 5:50 AM

Here are some pictures that I have taken in Linyi over the last week and some odd days.  I have more, but I ‘ll save them for another day.  I am currently working on a post that talks about my experience at a Chinese organic farm.  I’ll try to get that up soon.  Until then, enjoy!

Out our window.

This is the left view out of our window.  We are on the 6th floor.

Out our window.

Right view.  The city is very flat.

The Do Not button.

This is a little bedside table that is in our room.  I am almost positive that our building used to be a hotel and that a lot of the furnishings here are from that hotel.  I am very interested in what the Do Not button did.

Dog Cheap Pillow

Phil needed a pillow since they only gave us one.  He went with the Dog-cheap pillow.

Shark head

Shark head.  Need I say more?

World Map Fountain

I have now been to every country and city in the entire world.  The world map is actually a fountain, but they don’t let it run in the winter.

River View

Here is a view of the Yi river.  Phil and I walked a portion of it trying to find something interesting to do.

Categories: China,Linyi
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Mar
18
2010

Linyi, China

bya Gabrielle at 11:10 AM

Okay, this entry is going to be short because I need to make sure that I am well rested tomorrow for my first day at work.  Phil starts Monday.    I just wanted to let the world know that I was alive and well and that I will start blogging more regularly now that I have internet . . . although, what we have now is hard to call internet.  There is some weird program that the school requires to be on your computer in order for it to access the internet.  And of course, it blocks everything, even when using Phil’s awesomeness to get around it.  For instance, I can access Facebook, but I can’t comment or anything.  It’s frustrating.  If we just had a normal line, instead of school internet, I don’t think we would be having any problems.

Well, I suppose I should put up at least a few pictures before I hit the hay. Videos will have to wait until I can figure out a way to upload to Youtube.

Phil sacked out.

Ha ha.  Phil fell asleep on the plane from Beijing to Linyi.

International Exchange Center

This is the place we are living.  We are on the 6th floor.

Our dorm.

I am a little less than impressed with our living conditions.  We might be moving  soon, but I am not sure.

Our squat toilet.

Yep.  That is our toilet.

Shower and washer.

Interesting set up they have here.  Our shower is on the left and our clothes washer is on the right.

Linyi sunset

I snapped this picture walking around Linyi trying to find things to do.

Categories: China,Linyi
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Mar
10
2010

And the Journey Begins

bya Gabrielle at 7:30 AM

Well it’s 6:21 AM at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport and we’ve just finished up hell week… moving and uprooting our lives to live in China…. Again.

Further status updates will come along as we continue through our journey to the far east for a second time.

Tux in CAE

Categories: Uncategorized
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Mar
04
2010

Wind from the Plateau – The Folk Art Ensemble from Guizhou, China

bya Gabrielle at 9:39 AM

I’m not sure how many of you care about Chinese Folk art, but I have several videos that I took at the Wind from the Plateau, a performance held at the Koger Center here in Columbia.  Instead of making several posts, I am just going to shove all 12 of the videos I uploaded to YouTube. Enjoy!

I am sure I will have more of things like this to come in the new future.

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