worst trip

Worst trip of my life, Ladies & Gents. I kid you not! In a recent post I kind of gave you a little introduction about my first solo trip AND how disastrous it was. Think I might need to divide this experience into three posts, because it was quite interesting. As I’ve said before, I never thought I’d enjoy traveling by myself. But… I learned so much during that trip. To be alone with one’s thoughts can be frightening, but I don’t run away from that. It’s important for me to not disconnect from myself, so I make time to just be with Me, Myself & I. My time in Guangzhou had its bad moments, but overall, it was the best worst trip of my life! Yes, a lot of stuff went wrong, you have no idea! But I came out of it alive and well and stronger than before.

So, in my previous post, I wrote about having mixed feelings about going to The Netherlands. After much consideration and talks with my relatives and friends there, I decided to go. So many people there who love me and haven’t seen me in a while. And to be honest, a part of me really wanted to go. I’m tired of Chinese food, the hot weather, hearing Chinese all day, the freaking racism here, I’m just tired! A change of scenery is needed!

After I found an opening at the TLS Center in Guangzhou, I asked Marcio to help my buy a ticket to go on the worst trip ever!

Marcio, I’ve mentioned him once or twice. He’s one of my good friends here. Super smart when it comes to computers and gadgets, so I asked him to buy the tickets online. I guess it’s safe to say I’m a grandma when it comes to apps. If they’re too confusing and require me to read too much, I don’t use them. Marcio is super smart, so he bought me the tickets online. But guess what? Instead of going to Xiamen Railway Station, I went to Xiamen North Railway Station. I can read Chinese (DUH!), but shit like this just happens to me from me from time to time. I think it’s part of my charm, LOL!

worst trip
High speed train

See, I had applied for an extension of my residence permit. Had to pick up my passport August 1. Since I wasn’t feeling the trip anymore, I kinda dragged my feet. Anything to sabotage the trip to Amsterdam. But when I managed to find an opening, and I saw that as divine intervention, Marcio bought me a ticket. It was 14:45. I got out of bed (yes, I had just woken up, it’s vacation time, what do you expect?), showered, packed and was ready by 15:15. THAT is a record for me!

After arriving at the wrong train station, I bought a new ticket.

So, I’ll get to that soon. First, let me tell you what happened after I left my room. I went to 出入境, which can be translated as “immigration.” That place is on the island, I don’t live on the island. If you take the subway (or is it metro?), it’s about forty to forty-five minutes away. I made some calculations in my head… “If I get there around 15:50, it might be crowded. Then I have maybe an hour to get my passport, then I need to get my ass to Xiamen North to catch my 17:58 train. XNR which is almost an hour away by subway. GREAT!”

See no one, not even ME, can say that my life is boring! There are so many stories I can tell you, but you’ll need to buy me a beer first. I like Heineken, in case you were wondering.

The clerk didn’t want to sell me a new ticket, because I was already in their system. I’d purchased a ticket to Guangzhou.

I knew everything in China was linked, and all, but this is awesome really creepy. “You’ve already bought a ticket to Guangzhou, I can’t sell you a new one.” After explaining the situation, he sold me a new ticket, but to Shenzhen. The tickets to Guangzhou sell like hot cakes! Almost always sold out! Now, I didn’t pay a lot of attention during my Geography class, so that’s why I didn’t know Shenzhen came before Guangzhou. In my disliking-geography-mind, we had to go through Guangzhou to get to Shenzhen. Yeah, I don’t know why I didn’t just google it.

worst trip
Journaling about the worst trip EVER!

On the train, I took out my journal and started telling her about my day. “Girl, you have no idea the kind of shit I’m in! This might be the start of the worst trip EVER! … IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY!”

I arrived in Shenzhen around 23:00… but I needed to get to Guangzhou YESTERDAY!

Marcio helped me book a hotel in Guangzhou, so I really needed to get there. Didn’t matter there were no more trains to that city, I needed to arrive there that night! How to get there? Someone on the train told me I could get a cab from Shenzhen to Guangzhou for about 400 RMB. Believe me, I was willing to pay it.

When I exited the train station, there were taxi chauffeurs on the prowl.

Chauffeur: 到哪里?广州吗?
(Where to? Guangzhou?)
Me: 是的。多少钱?
(Yes. How much?)
Chauffeur: 你一个人七百块钱。
(If you’re traveling alone, 700 RMB.)
Me: (想想:去你的!)算了吧!
(Thinking: up yours!) Forget it!
Chauffeur: 如果你和八九个人一起去的话,就是一百五十。
(If you go with eight or nine people, it’s 150 RMB.)
Me: 好的。哪里呢?(OK. So where?)
Chauffeur: 跟着我走。(Follow me)

There I am , following a strange Chinese man… to a minivan… in a strange city… at 23:00. Worst trip EVER!

worst trip
Shenzhen Chainsaw Massacre

For all I knew, he could be leading me to The Killer. I had flashes of myself starring in my own Shenzhen Chainsaw Massacre. It was a really stupid thing I did, but when I arrived at the van and saw at least six other people, I felt more at ease. We ended up leaving Shenzhen with thirteen people, including the driver.

I made sure to keep in contact with a friend or two, Marcio was one of them. He kept me company for at least two hours or more. Such a good friend. Now… when I arrived in Guangzhou, it was about 02:00. It took us about 30 minutes to find my hotel, because the driver wasn’t a Guangzhou native. The other half of the shit story began when I arrived at my hotel. Click here to find out what happened.