When you arrive at an airport, there will always be a string of gentlemen with varying degrees of professional signs for their passengers. Some get fancy with iPads. Others have a left over 8 1/2 x 11 that they scribbled on the back of. And most of them spell my name wrong.
I did not arrange for one of those guys this trip.
One seemingly helpful enough sign dude realizes I don’t have a ride yet and whisks me over to a desk with a bunch of hotel names above it. But not mine. Within 4 seconds flat, he’s asking if I’m paying cash or credit card and already has my driver and receipt ready to go.
I’d like to think I’m a rather spontaneous person, but anyone that wants to trade cash for sticking me in a car in a new city where I don’t speak the language gets a second thought.
Side note: ‘Hold on!’ is not a widely recognized phrase while failing to connect to airport wifi to double check logistics.
Off to the information desk I go.
Then, of course, back to the same nameless hotel taxi desk. Where my new helper and my old helper argue and then giggle about something in Chinese. Probably that I was just there and didn’t want to go.
Stupid American girl.
Oh well. New guy charged 100Yuan less (~$16USD) and I’m now in a van on a highway. Presumably heading to my hotel; which I hear is very nice. From them. Damn – I paid too much, didn’t I?
Though good thing I over paid up front as my cabbie might be lost, even though I gave him my sweet coworker provided directions, Beijing Chinese is different from Shanghai Chinese, so you never know. Imagine Louisiana and New York trying to have a conversation. Kinda like that. So he’s on the phone now and keeps saying ‘hotel’ in the form of a question. Let’s hope whomever he’s talking to has a map.
But he did just tell me ‘yoo ahh berry bu-tiff’ with his much in need of a dentist, teetering between creepy & genuine, old man smile… and then proceeded to hack a spit wad out the window.
So I’ve got that going for me.
Welcome to China!
“It’s good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
~ Ernest Hemingway