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Day Six: Shanghai to Beijing

Posted on Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

Dave!Last night I ended up watching Chinese television and eating in my room instead of going out. I was just too tired to head into the city again.

The show I ended up watching was an English education program with various segments that used movies and music to teach the language in context. Unfortunately, the movie in question was a Pauley Shore flick, which had me cringing at the thought of the Chinese thinking that this movie is in any way indicative of life in America. I mean, Pauley Shore?!? Is there anything that could possibly be more embarrassing? And the phrases for the evening that they were teaching? "I'll make it up to you" and "That's really cool of you."

After a whopping 5 hours sleep, I checked out of my hotel and caught a taxi to Hongqiao airport for my flight to Beijing. My taxi driver, quite surprisingly, was a woman (the first female taxi driver I had seen since I got here). For some reason, I thought that this would make for a less-eventful journey, but I couldn't have been more wrong. She was just as aggressive a driver as any of her male counterparts, if not more so. She could wedge her way into traffic, horn blaring, with the best of them. I was thrilled.

The 2-hour flight to Beijing via Air China, was pleasant enough... except for the fact that we sat on the tarmac for an hour before taking off. And thus began a day of waiting...

  • Waiting at the airport: 2-1/2 hours.
  • Waiting for the plane to take off: 1 hour.
  • Waiting to land: 2 hours.
  • Waiting in an endless line for a taxi: 1-1/2 hours.
  • Waiting to get to my hotel: 1-1/2 hours.
  • Waiting at check-in: 20 minutes.
  • Waiting in traffic to get to the Hard Rock: 2 hours*.
  • Waiting in traffic for the ride bacK 1/2 hour.

*The two hours to the Hard Rock was mainly due to the incompetence of the driver I got, who kept falling asleep at traffic stops and took the busiest route possible to get there... bypassing the Ring Road entirely in favor of driving through Tiananmen Square during rush hour. Easily the worst driver I have EVER had in my life. And, given the number of taxis I've taken over the years, that's saying a lot. It took every ounce of restraint I could muster not to choke the bastard for the entire length of the journey. I had to settle for kicking his seat each time the dumbass fell asleep.

Anyway, pretty much a wasted day. I am hoping to make up for it tomorrow.

Categories: Travel 2005Click To It: Permalink


  1. Anthony says:

    Man that sounds ridiculous, a taxi driver falling asleep in traffic. I like the fact you were kicking his seat though. 🙂

  2. Larry B says:

    Wow! I took a lot of taxis in Beijing, and most were pretty good. The size of the taxi is no predictor of driver skill (all of which is not great) but nobody ever fell asleep on me. They did occasionally get a little lost, but nothing so horrible. And, taxis are C-H-E-A-P and quite honest in Beijing.

    Still, I took the subway when I could – just for the fun of it.

  3. Dave2 says:

    I HAD to kick his seat. He was oblivious to the honking horns behind him. Of course, everybody honks all the time here, so it’s easy to become immune to the sound.

    Taxis are relatively cheap, which is nice. But prices are going up here, and the US Dollar keeps sliding as of late. Were were at an exchange of around 8.30 for years… but now it’s at 8.00 and continues to fall. Within a few years, the US Dollar will be just as weak in China as it is everywhere else around the world. Better visit soon while you can still afford it!

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