Thursday, August 22, 2013

Going With the Flow

One thing that I have become accustomed to in a place where I speak so little of the language and am trying to learn//be respectful of the cultural differences is to just go with the flow and do as those around me are doing.

My flight was at 3 PM (or so I thought) so I had to make it to the airport in Changsha around 1:30ish. The airport was about 45 minutes from the bus station. Since I couldn't find an exact bus station timetable, I headed to the Zhangjiajie bus station around 7AM.

I boarded a bus bound for Changsha at 7:30 AM and made it into Changsha around 12. Throughout the bus ride a guy from the Philippines continued to talk to me. The bus was relatively empty but he sat right next to me and talked to me the entire 4 hours. I fell asleep on and off (he was not very cute or very interesting).

From there I found a shuttle to the airport at 1 PM so I just waited in the airport shuttle area.

The Changsha airport was tiny. I used the quick check in and discovered my flight wasn't at 15:00 but 17:00 so I was very early. I decided to sit down and read my book. Once I finished my book I checked in and waited in the terminal. 

At 5 PM we all got onto a bus and driven out to the plane. We were about to board when they had us get back on the bus and were brought back to our terminal. 

At 6 they served us dinner. 

Around 7:30 they told us we would board at 9

I found it funny the airport kept saying "the flight has been delayed due to another airports mismanagement of traffic" something common in China--push blame onto someone or something else

Between 8 and 9 people started getting angry and complaining

And then things got pretty violent. I think this is when they announced our flight was cancelled (but i never knew because they didn't announce it in English) 

A 22-year old Chinese guy came up to me and started talking to me asking me if I knew the flight was cancelled. He was really friendly and helpful but also kind of annoying at the same time. He was from Changsha and was going to Chengdu to apply for his student visa to continue studying at Kansas State. 

To Chinese people, having money is very important. When you fly you are among the wealthiest Chinese because there are so many other cheap ways to transport from one place to another. 

Jin, my new friend, made it clear how much money he had. And how much he liked to party at Kansas State (I think many Chinese people think that this is something that foreigners can relate and drinking. Sorry buddy not interested). 

From there I just did what everyone else did. I got on a bus (but first I made sure I could get my checked luggage back the following day)

We went to three hotels before we finally found one we could stay in that was about 30 minutes from the airport. 

I kept repeating yi ge ren (only one person) I was one of few who got my own room without having to pay extra. I was also the only foreign person on the plane.

I went up to my room which didn't have wifi (somewhat of a blessing) and fell right asleep. 

At 4 the next morning I got a wake up call and headed back to the airport around 5AM for our 7AM flight. Breakfast on board the plane was a dinner roll, nuts covered in something sweet, and another roll //muffin. Before the plane had even stopped people were up grabbing their things and lining up to get off the plane--this was somewhat hilarious. (I got off 5 minutes later but met them all in the luggage claim) 

And the first billboard i see upon leaving the airport in Chengdu "Enjoy the moment. Enjoy life." Any ideas what the add might be for? 

Jin and his friend who picked him up in Chengdu took a taxi together and they helped me find my hotel, which was really helpful. 

I was amazed at how orderly the taxi pick up was! 

I was telling Jin's friend about the things I planned to do in Chengdu...all of them he had never done before. I find it funny that many Chinese people have so many neat places to visit or travel to so close to them but they do not go outside their work or school zones. 

After traveling I feel like I know more about China than some Chinese people do!

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