it’s a long, long journey

Posted on: 25 June 2011

I used to not be able to sleep in public places. Then the commute to and from UBC taught me how to doze, half-awake, on the bus. Now I’ve power-napped at the airport. I know what it’s like to wake up with a mouth seemingly full of fuzz because I haven’t brushed my teeth. And to feel like I’m covered in a layer of grime.

Anyway, to continue the saga, yesterday we line up for three hours, luggage in tow, to get ticket information for our flight to Vancouver. Actually, I fall asleep on a lounge chair. When I wake up, Kevin’s still in line. Near the front, though. Then he’s at the desk, except some Asian ladies are trying to cut in. He’s had enough and tells them off. They don’t even leave until others in the line start yelling at them too.

Tsk, Chinese manners. World class, I tell you.

We get in another, shorter line for hotel information. They tell us to go to door 11 on the first floor. When we get there it’s crowded and nobody knows anything – which hotel, what bus to take, which line to stand in, who’s in charge. Finally Kevin manages to get the name and number of a hotel. It’s chaos at the bus station, so we line up for a taxi.

When we get in a taxi, the driver gives us a blank look and says he doesn’t know where the hotel is. We get in another taxi. Driver doesn’t look thrilled. He tells us our destination is too close to the airport – not profitable enough of a ride. So he charges us double.

At the Rosedale, the manager says there are no vacancies. But we called to confirm that Air China had booked off a block of rooms for us, we say. He maintains there are no rooms. A group of Asian men start spazzing and smoking in the no-smoking lounge and insulting the hotel employees. So when a room opens up (wonder how that happened) he gives it to us.

A shower has never felt so good.

Today, the first taxi we flag for the trip back to the airport takes one look at our luggage and claims it won’t fit in the car. Then he drives off. Kevin secures one by offering to pay extra. Seriously, what use are taxis in Beijing if they won’t take you where you need to go?

So we’re at the airport again, hoping to fly out at 11:30PM. If and when we arrive I will kiss Vancouver soil, I swear.


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