Monday, July 27, 2009

Stress Settles In

Greetings All,
Today was moving day. Allison and I woke up early (again) and began packing in anticipation for our trip. At 7am, we decided to have our final breakfast at the hotel restaurant, so we went downstairs. We enjoyed the foods that has become our favorites, though Alli drank Sprite instead of hot tea (she said that the tea was too bitter today)

We went for a walk outside to gather some staples; chips, cookies, soda and juice (plus Snickers bars) because I felt a little apprehensive about the location of our new digs. As we walked, we realized that there was a bustling marketplace all around our hotel- we had never even seen it! Alli complained that her feet were hurting, so I decided that we should find some comfortable walking shoes. Yes, we bought knockoff Crocs!!!

On our way home, I decided that I needed to get a cellphone because it was unclear exactly where we would be living. For once, there was no one pestering me to buy something, so I was at a bit of a loss. I looked around and everyone 大家 (da jia, say da jah) {rhymes with Nadja!!} seemed to be focused on a large group of tourists who had just disembarked a tour bus. Oh well!

Eventually, I found a merchant and haggled down the price to 1/4 the asking figure and bought a cellphone (I'm sure I still paid too much though, but who cares!) I now have a working phone. Yay me!

That was the uneventful part of the day... If you want to share in my misery, read on. Otherwise, stop here and read again tomorrow!

For those intrepid souls who delight in the discomfort of others (or just want to remind themselves that normal people just don't do this sort of thing) I list the following unpleasantness.

We checked out of the hotel at noon and had to pay an enormous 240 yuan internet usage bill. From the front lobby, we hired a taxi to take us to our new digs, which the map showed me was across town. Outside was steamy and about 85 degrees- it had just finished raining...again.

Our 30 minute taxi ride took us to our new district, MinHang. That's where the real trouble started. You see, I had written down the address and phone number of our host, but sometime during the taxicab ride, I lost it. Yes, I lost our only means of contacting the person with whom we would be living! Hell!!! I thought I remembered the address, so I asked the driver to drop us off at the front gate of the compound. Imagine the sight- two (black) people, one a small, sleepy-looking kid, with three suitcases, a large duffle bag and each carrying a large backpack...roaming the streets with no where to go.

Alli and I entered the compound where I successfully (after nearly half an hour of using every Chinese phrase I know) asked the guards to direct us to the #32 building (our host's building). By this time, I was less and less pleased. The complex was old and rundown, the buildings were dirty and there were people filling water jugs and taking them home. Again, not pleased. When we got to #32, I rang the bell for apartment 102, but after a few minutes realized that this could NOT be the place we were looking for. We were definitely in the slums. Alli began to cry, and I felt like crying myself! But wait, I had a cellphone! I called home and had hubby pull up my Google account to get the phone number and address. He contacted Peter and Linda (our hosts) and they told me that I was on the western road instead of the eastern road. With relief, we hurriedly schlepped our suitcases out of there and promptly hailed a cab (whose driver laughed when I told him how far we were going- he really thought we should just walk!).

When we got to our new digs, about 3 minutes away- just across the main intersection, it was like entering a tropical oasis; palm trees, fancy cars, gated entrance...a foot bridge over a pond filled with goldfish and lotus blooms. We were so happy to have finally arrived! We met Peter and Linda, both of whom seem wonderful- Linda is gorgeous! We promptly entered our room-which looked exactly like the pictures, I might add, and fell asleep. An exhausting day filled with fretting and sweating...but a happy ending!

Till tomorrow, then.


1 comment:

  1. Oh what a day! The stories Allison has to share with her friends... I hope you have enough money for counseling later on! :)


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