30/ Dec/ 2016 Arrival
One of the downfalls of traveling at this time of year, is that many people are flying home to celebrate the new year with their families and friends- which as a result meant that this flight would be filled with people who knew each other and that the next six or so hours were not going to be quiet. I was already exhausted from the tedious stop over and trying to get a wink of sleep on that flight was equivalent to finding a needle in a haystack- even with headphones in I could still hear the echoes of laughter being thrown back and forth between rows and children were given the liberty to run in the aisles. There was nothing I could do, so I ordered a four- dollar beer and tried my best to zone everything out.
I woke up to the impact of the plane landing and before the seat belt light had even turned off, most people already started gathering their things and competitively made their way to the exit doors. If this were the Hunger Games I would for sure lose- some old Asian ladies can be ridiculously savage.
By the time I made it through customs and the ‘foreigner entry’ point out the airport it was 2:30AM and my tiredness was very much at the front of thinking so much so I practically forgot I was finally in China, I just wanted to lay my head down, take my socks off and hibernate for as long as I wanted.
As I walked out the gates, many men greeted me with ‘Taxi? Taxi! You want taxi?’ and in my deluded state I said yes without thinking. I followed him not to where the taxi rank were usually found but through the closed airport and into the car park where a white Holden was waiting. He opened the boot for my bags and pulled out a laminated card with charges on it to which I agreed, normally I would be suspicious of how this man was operating but I was so tired and fixated on sleep that he could have asked for an organ donation and I probably would have said yes. With 450 yen down, I got in his meter-less car and hoped that this would be less a Liam Neeson moment and more of a Driving Miss Daisy experience. Again I was tired.
Not to add racial profiling but the driving state of China was not helping any stereotype be eradicated. Indicating seems to be extinct and traffic lights are treated more like a suggestion than actual road rules- at one point we actually took a u turn in the middle of a road. During the Mario-cart drive I gestured to my wrist trying to communicate to the driver the international signal for time, but he just nodded and continued to drive. I tried to look out the window and fixate my attention on the surroundings but it was so dark and lifeless that I did not care, or really want too.
After about twenty minutes (not worth the 450 yen- I later found out that it should have only cost about 100 yen max, well played asshole) he dropped me off in a dark and cramped alley and whispered ‘careful’. The man who did not know the universal gesture for ‘what time is it?’ knew the word careful- it was at this point where I second guessed my decisions and severely regretted not buying insurance.
They alley was eerie, and the buildings that surrounded it towered with a sense of tadandonment . I tried to ask for help but a man literally ran away from me, he literally ran. I pointlessly roamed tired with my luggage strapped to me for about an hour, trying to find street trademarks similar to the Airbnb photos but it was so late in the night that every corner looked alike and trying to distinguish Chinese characters in that state of mind was the most pointless thing I have ever done, and so I gave up. I walked to the nearest hotel and booked myself a single room. Finally after twenty six hours of travel I laid my head down on what seemed to be the best pillow ever made and went to sleep. I was in China.