Thursday, March 05, 2009

From the US to Home Sweet Home

It took 15 hours to fly from Atlanta to Shanghai.

It is incredible that we could be in the air for that long. Thank goodness the airplane was empty and I had a whole row to myself, a perfect bed for the surrealness of being on a dark airplane for 15 hours, watching personal movies on the screen in the headrest of the seat in front of me, knitting, and in a grogginess waking up for a drink or food.

The trip back to my city of Xifeng took forever.

Plane Huntsville to Atlanta 1 hr
Plane Atlanta to Shanghai 15 hours
Plane Shanghai to Xian 2.5 hours
Bus Xian to Xifeng 6 hrs

And that doesn't include all of the waiting time. I had to spend a night in Xian since I arrived at 8 pm.

Xian to Xifeng can be quick, 3 hours, if you spend $20 or can be slow, 6 hours, if you spend $10.

The cheap way is terrible! My site mate and I got to the bus station at like 9 am. When we asked for tickets, the ticket lady said no tickets and then a long flutter of incomprehensible Chinese.

Caitin and I were like ummm what are we going to do?

She went out the guarded gate where there were security people checking for tickets but because she is white she was able to go through without a ticket. I would have had a lot harder time sneaking through the security check.

When she got to the bus they said no more tickets just like the ticket lady. Then a guy approached her and said he can take her to Xifeng for 100 RMB. She agreed and returned to get me taking me to an empty van. I was like uh oh. We are going to have to wait forever till this 20 passenger van fills up.

At noon after waiting for 3 hours, the van finally got 10 passengers but as we were leaving the police stopped the van and started video taping. The driver gave us back our money and directed us to the previous bus that supposedly had no more tickets. There was plenty of room. It must have been some type of scam where scammers would buy all of the tickets and then try to get you to take the van. A bus ticket is only 65 RMB compared to the van price of 100 RMB.

So we left Xian at noon and got into COLD Xifeng at 4 pm.

I went to sleep which was probably a bad idea. I slept solid till 8 pm and then tried to keep sleeping but around 2 am couldn't sleep anymore. I read one of my books and started another book and then read all of the trashy magazines I brought for my sitemate. Around 5 am I washed all of the floors coz everything was covered with dust.

And now I am back into the swing of things, no longer jet lagged with already two weeks of teaching under my belt: English and American Literature and English Speaking Culture which is basically a history course.

It feels good to be back to China. I just want to learn how to speak more Chinese so I can order a variety of food rather than the boring noodles and dumplings that I eat almost everday.

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