Published: May 11th 2012May 11th 2012
The return home was not so calm...
Rather late than never OR my return trip to Yinchuan.
I know, I know. This newsletter is very late. At this point you may be wondering why this newsletter is latter than usual, and that is valid. Honestly I can think of a number of reasons why, but instead of doing that I’ll apologize. As this newsletter is in two parts I’ll begin with my story. So here we go!
By way of autobiographical information my given Chinese name is “Yuan Hao Yun” or “Good Luck”. This was lovingly given by my adopted family in Chuzhou before this adventure took place. Latter you will realize the irony of this name, or you may think that it is the right name for me.
My final day in Shanghai was a laid back and easy day. My bag, renamed Pa Shan (mountain climber) was packed and my ticket to Yinchuan was bought and paid for. At 10 PM I would be on the train and heading for Yinchuan, then onto Dawukou where I could sleep in my own bed. Remember, my name is Yuan Hao Yun.
This final day in this grand city was well spent. Riding the subway system all over town was an adventure in itself, I will be forever grateful to my Mei-mei who showed me around this town. I went back to the Pudong area and looked around. At one point I was going to go to the Science and Industry Museum, but at 60 Yuan (a little under $8 USD), I was content with looking at it from the outside. The weather was beautiful and people were even flying kites in the par. I then took the Bund Tourist “Trap” Tunnel from the Pudong to Bund.
If you are able to see it in pictures, then be satisfied with that look. One has to pay 30 Yuan (about $4 USD) for a less than five minute trip to see Christmas lights strung up. It is a much wiser investment to pay 2 to 4 Yuan (between 25 and 50 Cents USD) to go from the Pudong to the Bund. While at the river banks of the Bund, I took the opportunity to look back at the other side of the river. As the sun was going down, the view was awesome.
As the sun finally set it was time to go to the train station for an adventure I could only hope to forget. Let the laughing, begin….now. Due to my lack of Chinese language skills and the titanic size of the Shanghai train station, which was in two buildings, Luck can only go so far.
Looking for guidance I went to the “English Line”. Luck abruptly left me as I communicated with the worker whose command of English was not that great. But it was still better than my Chinese. I was directed to line number 30. To this line I went, completely trusting the lady who spoke to me. Handing my ticket to the lady, thinking that she would validate it, the opposite happened. She cancelled it and handed me a few RNB. Panic mode---go!
I was grateful to the gentleman after me whose command of English was quite good (and better than the paid staff’s). He was kind enough to translate for me. The lady at the line was not able to do anything for me and so back to the English line I went. The worker here was able to do even less. The only option I had was to buy a new ticket, so I asked her if there were any hard seats left. Nope, my options were either hard sleeper or standing.
Due to the lack of RNB, my only option was to buy a standing only ticket- to Yinchuan. “Fate help me”, I thought to myself. I bought the ticket and went to the place I should have gone to at first. In less than one hour I had gone from a hard-sleeper to standing. Although the bragging rights are great, the experience was not.
At 10 PM I got on my train and fortunately I was back by the sink area It was dry and so I was able to sit down on it when train personnel were not in the area. That worked for about an hour and then I faced over 30 hours of standing. I had only one opportunity to improve my situation for the better; my adopted family in Chuzhou. I was sure that they could lend me the funds to get a hard seat.
Well, after five hours of standing I arrived in Chuzhou and my adventure was only beginning. I will say that the Chinese people are very cleaver and that my digital camera is worth its weight in gold. After showing the taxi driver a picture of the area where I wanted to go, we went off. At three in the morning, I arrived at the gate of my adopted family’s home. As tired as I was, the trip had just begun. Remember, my name is Yuan Hao Yun.