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Published: October 27th 2012
Not there and this sign says?
No train tickets to be bought here
Just go to the little ticket office around the corner from the uni I was told and buy your tickets, no problems.
There are websites in English to look at for scheduling, I looked and checked and chose my trains.
You can only book 10-11 days ahead, I was within this time, had passport numbers and all details correct.
Armed with a note in simple English, written Chinese, my phrasebook, frantic practise of the names of cities with what I hoped were the right tones, and the ability to count, what could go wrong!
The little ticket office appears very empty and I have tried to visit there a couple of time with no activity during any of my visits.
Today there is a pink sign, I wonder if the sign says “gone to lunch”?
Time for a coffee and a think of Plan B, so I trotted off to my newly found local McCafe.
Plan B, go back to little ticket office, if no one there grab some little steamed buns at uni gate (I was hungry too) go on the number 3 bus to Jinan main railway station.
So the bus it was, with still no one at the little office, wonder if the sign says “closed go away”?
The Main Jinan railway station is also a long distance bus one; it’s busy as are all stations I have seen in China, with long distance travel almost always done by train or bus.
The ticket office was clearly marked with 14 very busy ticket counters so I joined #13 for good luck.
Slowly I got to the top, the lady swapped with another, once I presented my note and looked hopeless and spoke minimal Mandarin; and the new lady had some English to help me.
Firstly she asked today, I shook my head confidently and pointed to the date on the note.
She understood and keyed it in and asked me for money.
Then I pointed to the return, and she said no!
Ok have to pay for them separately I think. So money given and ticket in hand I then point to the return trip on my note.
No she said, shook her head and indicated my turn was over!
sure there is a perfectly good explanation she wanted to share but with the lack of a mutual language it went much unshared.
Hmmmmm, let’s find out where the trains leave, wandered out side and found the queue, with major renovations happening at this spot.
Looked at my ticket and found the right train, wrong time!
Websites are not that accurate; go into the train listed that you want to choose and look at the times there, rather than on the page with all the trains.
With a little bit of luck I may just be able to get the earlier time I was given with the help of a fast taxi!
Then I spied the ticket vending machines with English instructions.
Lined up and was helped by a very nice young man in the queue behind me until we got to part where it asked you to present your Chinese ID card. Mayo (don’t have, don’t want, not needed)
So they have English ticket vending machines for Chinese only, yes makes sense!
Return tickets shall be purchased in Beijing once I get there, may even
Can read this one almost
Think this is saying how many seats are left in each class
get an English speaking counter at the ticket office although not counting my luck.
Having a look at some webpages re train travel & China it seems that since 2011 you can only buy 1 ticket per one ID card or passport. These measures have been introduced to stop scamming and scalping schemes.
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