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Published: April 13th 2018
There comes a time when you need to just buy all your stuff in one go for your apartment and what better way to do it than to IKEA? Sounds like a fun day out, super chill, no stress, local right? One critical factor to this story is that it happened in China so of course, it was yet another adventure for us foreigners.
So if anyone reading this blog is not a kiwi and never been to New Zealand, we have nothing to even compare ourselves to the wonders of IKEA. Going to IKEA was just another trip for the American's that came along. For Tim but more so for myself, it was like having a second Christmas in a year that no one pre warned me about. IKEA IS LIFE.
But because we were in China, for those who have lived here, of course it was quite the mission. First we had to train all the way to Wuxi (the next city over from Suzhou a whole 19min speed train ride away). Then upon arrival we had to hunt around for a trolly (basket for the American's) and then find the entrance because why make it simple and straight forward when you can make it the next adventure for us hobbits and Americans??
When we finally got ourselves sorted, first we did not believe what were seeing. It wasn't the amazing western items that caught our eye and the incredible rooms set up to give you ideas on how to decorate each room in your house but the fact that when we walk past a bedroom display, on the bed where, given ANY other country, would've have been beautiful laid out duvets and sheets... there was an entire family fast asleep on top of the bed. Like actually asleep. Dreaming. I have never seen anything in my life quite like it. I don't know much about other western countries but can safely say in NZ and Aussie it ain't okay to sit on a demo bed let alone be fully asleep and dead to the world on it. It was a hilarious sight so we did as the Chinese do to us and took photos of them asleep. Unfortunately, I don't quite know who's phone they are on but the image will never leave my mind.
After that hilarious encounter we continued shopping (and marvelling) for everything we needed for our apartment from pots and pans to scented candles. I was in pure heaven. But after a few hours we were absolutely knackered so we decided to call it quits and head off.
We thought we would catch a taxi home. It had begun pouring and we just couldn't be bothered dealing with any of that. When it rains here, it's essentially like a flash flood and suddenly you'll be stuck in this monsoon. Staying dry is a nothing but a hopeless wish. Fortunately we found a taxi. He clearly had no idea how to get to where we needed to go so he put it into his maps and off we set. After what seemed like forever in the taxi, we finally saw the turn off for Suzhou. We got so excited. The Pants building is very recognisable and is the landmark of Suzhou that can be seen from almost anywhere close to entering SIP. Just before the turn off, the taxi driver receives a call on his phone so he answers it. Bye-bye maps. He continues driving and completely misses the turn off. We start trying to engage with him but he's happily running the meter having a good old chat to his buddy in Chinese totally ignoring the fact he's entirely missed our exit...
When suddenly we hear a thump. As if missing our turn off in a taxi car with a Chinese-speaking driver who is on the phone while driving in rain wasn't bad enough, the thump becomes a constant clang. He finally uses the little common sense he has and finishes his conversation and pays attention to the thumping. He pulls off under the motorway in the middle of nowhere in the rain. Now, not knowing what was going on and worried he might drive off we decided to keep me in the front so he couldn't just drive off. Laowai (foreigner in Chinese) are easily spotted so basically I was our insurance.
My mates, Tim, Tiki and (I'd rather say acquaintance) Scott, got out and had a look with the driver. Turns out our heavy foreign bodies were too much for the car and had lowered the car to the ground and so part of the bottom of the car (I'm not a car expert) was dragging along the road. In order to fix it, we had to squish everyone up on one side of the car so it wouldn't fall back down. So for the next 20mins driving back, three of us big ass foreigners were squished up on top of each other in the backseat of the car to keep it balanced.
Tiki, Tim and I thought it was absolutely hilarious being squished in the back with basically no room to breathe but Scott's face read, "I will skin you alive if you laugh once more" which of course made the trip even more memorable.
When we finally arrived, the taxi driver gave us the fare. It was triple the amount it should've been. He had not stopped the meter running for the whole time he had turned off and for when the car broke down trying to get it fixed. Even though we were foreign, we weren't stupid so we gave him what it should've come to and sprinted (well power walked if being realistic) three different ways so the mother trucker couldn't catch us. Alas began my rebellious lifestyle in China.
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