I just got here and it's already been an adventure.
Most Chinese natives do not speak English, and I was well aware of this fact before I left the country. It seems only fair, considering I didn't even attempt to learn Mandarin for the trip. To this end, I thoughtfully asked my hotel to email me directions to the property in Chinese characters so that my taxi driver would know where to take me. I'm a swell guy that way.
So as we are heading into the Shanghai from Pudon International Airport, I start to get concerned. Not because I've nick-named my driver "Speed Racer" because of the way he zips in and out of traffic at high speed while flashing his headlights and laying on the horn... but because something doesn't feel right. In preparation for my trips, I always make it a point to memorize a "map" of the city so I can get my bearings and spend less time being lost. But as we approach Shanghai, I notice that we are heading nowhere near the location of my hotel. Upon closer examination of the Chinese address, I notice what appears to be a postal code, but it doesn't match the code of the address I have in English.
They sent me the directions to the wrong hotel.
After a feeble attempt to explain the problem, I finally give up and get across to him to take me to the "wrong" hotel. From there I find somebody who speaks English to give my driver directions to the right hotel. He was a very good sport about the entire ordeal, so I left him a much-too-generous tip and wave goodbye as he tears off into the night.
There's a half-hour of my life I won't be getting back.
On the bright side, I did get a nice tour of the city lights by night. I also get to fill in another country on my map (well, since Hong Kong is once again part of the Middle Kingdom, I suppose I could have filled in China already... but it didn't feel right until I step foot on the mainland).
It's 8:30pm (vs. 5:30am), so I am going to force myself to stay awake another couple of hours so I am synced to the time zone here. This may be a bit difficult considering that I've been awake for 26 hours now.
Hmmm... the maid just came for turn-down service and left me a nifty snack. It's like a small Rice Crispies treat, but with a hint of orange. Delicious!
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Is this a business trip? What are you going to be working on over there? You always go to such “exotic” places.
Just an update. The worst of Rita hit Beaumont, Tx area and Louisiana got hit again. They were telling 3 million people to evacuate Louisiana last night just hours before the storm was to hit since it took that turn to the east. I have been here at the hospital with my husband where he works and we still have electricity here in The Woodlands. Quite a few Houstonians are without power right now and when I head home to New Caney we won’t have power there either. From what I have heard our home is fine, but we won’t know for sure until we view everything for ourselves. Don’t know when the power will be back on, just wanted to get an update out there to let people know that Rita was a lot better than it was looking to be a few days ago. Mother Nature took it easy on us. New Orleans suffered 3 levees breaking last night and they might be in for more flooding, but that is all I know for now. Thank you for your thoughts. Will update again when we have power.
My one China hotel experience featured a bed with a plush-looking mattress that was really more like a board with some padding on top. Man, that was a hard thing to sleep on, figuratively and literally.
Does your room have a decent mattress?
Like most of my travel, this is a combination of business and pleasure. It would be a shame to travel all the way to The Middle Kingdom and not see a few sights here in China!
Glad to know that you are okay Michele (and with internet access!). I feel terrible about poor New Orleans having to suffer yet again. 🙁
My hotel is fantastic, with nice furnishings and a comfortable bed (though I prefer a firmer mattress because of my back, so I might be biased here). It’s the Renaissance Pudong, and I definitely recommend it (though you’ve got a short taxi ride to the city proper).
Sorry to hear about the hotel mix-up, but that’s also part of what makes a good travel adventure. Can hardly wait until you start posting pictures!
I’ve decided that Dave’s real occupation is hitman extraordinaire. What other business would send him on so many cool travels?
“I’ve decided that Dave’s real occupation is hitman extraordinaire.”
My god thats weird. I was only thinking the same thing this morning at breakfast. :O lol
Hey Cavan and Anthony, just by coincidence, my next two trips are to Ottawa and Dublin… perhaps we’ll “bump into one another?”
Mwwwaaaah ha ha haaaah!
Anybody ELSE care to speculate?? Hmmm…?
I think Dave really is Stalkerman. The “stories” about delays on airports and obnoxious travellers are just a way to hide the fact that he’s teleporting everywhere…and what’s not to say that stalkerman IS a hitman extraordinaire?
Ohhh Patrick… if only that were true! If I could teleport anywhere around the world, and didn’t have to spend untold hours on airplanes, I’d be dropping by Stockholm for breakfast!
Jeez, why do I always manage to make myself the target of hitmen? Worse yet, hitmen with the ability to teleport?
I’ll go quietly, but I’m leaving instructions to have a bunch of bad monkey shirts sent to the police upon my demise. They’ll be onto you in no time.
I really want your job Dave, you see so many interesting places while I’m stuck in this silly glass office building looking at traffic. 🙁 I wouldn’t mind being a hitman.