Welcome to My Personal Space

May 07, 2011 No Comments by

Travel in China will teach you one thing: to learn to pop the personal bubble. Seriously get used to it people, the chinese have no respect for your personal space. Case in point, my trip to Beijing.

I ended up in transit to Beijing a full 2 days earlier than expected because all the trains were booked out for the days I wanted. So it was either adjust my days down in Beijing to 5 or come in a few days early. I voted to come early. Beijing by far has the most stuff I want to see and I didn’t want to miss anything. This time on my overnight train I hooked a middle bunk, mainly because that’s all they had left. I think it was a good thing cause I’m sure I would have fallen out of the top at some point during the night.

This time, since I was by myself in my 6 person bunk room, I got to be the monkey in the cage. Everytime I glanced up from my book all I could see was the row of people sitting on the bottom bunk staring at me. Thank god it was an interesting book! Train ride itself was fairly uneventful other than the rocking snoring from the tiny grandma next to me. She was impressive to say the least.

But the real fun started once I got to Beijing, by chance my new swedish friend Christian was on the same train and we decided to catch the bus together. Finding the bus was not hard. Getting on the bus was not difficult. Getting off? A whole different ballgame. When we piled on, the driver made us put our bags on top of the wheel well. By the time we got to our exit for the metro line I had no idea how we were going to get our bags plus us through the crush of people on the bus. The solution? The driver told us to THROW THEM OUT THE WINDOW. I’m not kidding. He opened the window on the side of the bus and chucked our bags out onto the ground while we stared speachless at him. We then, of course, barreled threw the crowd to make sure we got off the bus at this stop and not leave our bags laying by the side of the road. Once we managed to get off and confiscate our bags once more, I couldn’t stop laughing at the ridiculousness of our situation. We’d just thrown our stuff into the middle of a Beijing street. Crazy town!

The metro line didn’t fair much better. No matter how full the cabin seems to be, the chinese will always find more ways of fitting in. Even if that means bodily shoving from the front doors until we’re pressed full against each other in the car. I think I needed to buy the guy in front and behind me a drink before they should be able to get that close. I wasn’t even worried about pickpockets at that point, I was more concerned with boob grabbage. Thankfully we only had 4 stops before we could escape to freedom and fresh air!

The hostel we’d booked on Christian’s friend’s recommendation does leave something to be desired. Namely light. Our dorm room doesn’t have any overhead lights and I swear it was a prison at one point. Or a bunker. I’m not sure if I’ll last the 8 nights here or make a break for it tomorrow. Maybe I can bribe the warden.

PS: Xi’an was having an International Horticulture Expo while I was there. This was it’s mascot. How cute is that?


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One die-hard Mac Geek set on traveling the globe.
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