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My china story: part one

Popularity 8Viewed 1900 times 2017-4-7 15:57 |System category:Life| china

September 07, 2009 was the first time I stepped foot in shanghai, after a twenty-four hour trip from Beijing. I got out of the train, weary, exhausted and already have the feeling of homesickness. Dragging my heavy suitcase, half of it was packed with cookies because my mother believed that Chinese people almost eat all kind of creatures and drink frog juice. I do not know where she got that from, maybe she once saw a gloomy picture about china depicted and painted by media, but I was quiet clear about her worries about my safety and survival especially food. A young lad dragging a suitcase that is even heavier than his weight in mid-day of a burning hot summer, the hot sunshine slapping me in the face and I was not able to determine directions. I felt helpless after being ignored by passersby every time I tried to stop one of them and ask about my destination, others shrugged showing that they do not understand English.

Finally, I found a middle-aged man that could speak English, who took the initiative to ask me about where I wanted to go, I showed him the address, he stared at me with open eyes and said:

 

-   This place is very far

-          How far?

-          It is far, but I can find you a taxi

-          Ok , that’s great

-          It will cost 60RMB

I forgot to tell him that I would pay according to the taximeter, I don’t know why, maybe because I was exhausted and tired, so I accepted. I knew later that he is working for the taxi drivers finding them passengers and he gets a commission. After some time I knew that the journey would have cost about 30 RMB. He helped me with my suitcase and talked to the taxi driver to take me to the intended place after I paid him the fare.

 

The inconsiderate driver dropped me at the main gate instead of driving me to the school dorm, and yes everyone who has been to a Chinese university knows the distance between the gate and the dormitory. He pointed at the gate showing me my destination; I got off, opened the trunk and pulled out the heavy suitcase. Again, I did not know where to go, a well-build safety guard was standing by the entrance, I went over and asked him about the dorm in English, he was not able to speak English but he knows where these new comers heading , so he gave me half smile and a map of the school campus in Chinese !

 

Helplessly, I hold the map in one hand and pulling the suitcase by the other, wandering around the campus, trying to navigate my way to the dorm. Fortunately, I met a foreigner on a motorbike, it seemed like the salvation moment has arrived. He asked me to go to the dorm first and pointed north; I nodded my head and thanked him. I went north but all my navigation attempts ended in complete failure. The motorcyclist found me again still looking for the dorm and decided to take me to the dorm himself, he was a senior student and he turned out to be my country mate, what a great relief!!

He finally helped me with every procedure and asked me to get some rest. I settled in and slept for twelve hours. Since then, I have not seen him for a week. Every morning, I get up, take out two of the cookies my mother made for me, go to buy a carton of milk and sit on the bench eating and looking at the people passing by.    

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)

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Comment Comment (9 comments)

Reply Report AndrewHLi 2017-4-7 17:38
You lured me in, an interesting story. Glad to meet you. You can call me Andrew.
Reply Report arabchinalover 2017-4-7 17:40
AndrewHLi: You lured me in, an interesting story. Glad to meet you. You can call me Andrew.
Thank you very much for accepting my friend request . Greatful to make friends with you Andrew . I am Amjed.
Reply Report stander3068 2017-4-10 12:44
for help, you can ask for young people, many of them speak english.
you may know that now,  Private car are not allowed to get access to campus nowadays.
Reply Report parcher 2017-4-10 20:06
Unfortunately most foreigners have learned the hard way dealing with taxi drivers. I have been here 9 years, but still have some confrontations with taxi drivers. Many used to refuse my destination because it was outside their comfort zone, but new rules mean if they do refuse, you can call the taxi company and the driver will lose their license for 1 month. Sorry to see you were screwed over 30 rmb, but most of us know how you feel...
Reply Report arabchinalover 2017-4-10 21:53
parcher: Unfortunately most foreigners have learned the hard way dealing with taxi drivers. I have been here 9 years, but still have some confrontations with t ...
very pathetic !
Reply Report SharkMinnow 2017-4-11 12:56
It's amazing how much Chinese society still lacks basic English skills. Makes it very difficult for new Foreigners...great story though, enjoy your life here!
Reply Report arabchinalover 2017-4-11 13:06
SharkMinnow: It's amazing how much Chinese society still lacks basic English skills. Makes it very difficult for new Foreigners...great story though, enjoy your li ...
thank you very much my friend. yes , chines society still lacks english skills but weanwhile i was not familiar with chinese people and china . now i can get by easily and know the way a foreigner asks the way in china .
Reply Report Robertson666 2017-4-20 20:38
that's a fun story~~
Reply Report seneca 2017-5-1 15:18
Most new beginnings come with some hardships. in China, it isn't the language per se, it is the opportunism of some folks who capitalise on your misfortune (as that taxi tout did who charged you 60 kuai for a trip worth 30 yuan).

Frankly, your adventure was quite tame by my experiences. I am now waiting for your next instalment full of unsettling experiences and how you met the woman who became your wife: she must have saved you from some life-threatening situation that could only happen in China...

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