Run Salad Boy Run
Shanghai Travel Blog› entry 96 of 115 › view all entries
You can still make it - go, go, go! I sprint down the empty station platform just as the whistle sounds. I can see a female guard at the nearest entrance to the still stationary train – I'm going to do it – yes! It's just like in the films when the hero gets there in the nick of time.
The steps have been retracted from the door and it's a good three feet up; pretty difficult when you've got two full backpacks weighing you down. I attempt to scramble aboard but the guard wants to see my ticket first. I hand it over impatiently: come on woman – hurry up and let me on. This has been quite the Hollywood train dash...
I've rush walked up the tout-heavy East Nanjing Road: “Do I look like I want a massage? Do I? Really?” I've sweated and fidgeted my way through the subway system, cursing each stop and legging it through transfer stations. I've bypassed the security X ray machine at Shanghai Railway Station (What was the security guard thinking by the way? Allowing a sweaty man with two bulky backpacks to run through unchecked. If you tried that in London you'd get your brains blown out).
I've pushed, shoved and “excuse me'd” my way through the massive station, thrusting my ticket into the face of anyone looking vaguely official to get directions. I've dashed down an escalator onto the platform and finally made it to the train. It was hard work and I bloody well need to sit down and stop breathing out of my arse.
“Not train sir,” says the guard, flashing me an apologetic smile. “You ticket train G14, this G16. So sorry sir.”
I take back the ticket and check it: she's absolutely right – Shhhhhiiiiiiiit! I slump back onto the platform, deflated, sweat-soaked and disheveled. That's 30 quid worth of ticket up the swanny then. I turn and begin to stomp slowly back the way I came.
It's my own stupid fault, I just had to play Prince sodding Charming. I was ready to leave the hostel well before time, as is my usual fashion these days – I hate to rush. Then a tall Dutch girl named Christine struck up a conversation with me whilst I was killing the final half hour in reception. After twenty minutes the conversation swung to music; she was fresh into the country and her iPod had somehow wiped itself – leaving her with no music.
“I can help,” I heard myself saying. “I've got a laptop – I can upload some of my stuff onto your iPod for now. But it'll have to be fast, I need to leave quite soon to catch my train.”
Christine was keen to get some tunes so I booted up the laptop and uploaded my music to her iPod – which took longer than I'd expected. It'd be fine though; I reckoned it was only about half an hour to the train station. Yeah – right! We swapped details as Christine thought she might be heading to Beijing shortly after I was. Then I was out of the door, heading for a date with sweat...
Fast forward to Shanghai station and, after twenty minutes of enquiries aimed at finding someone who speaks English, I strike it lucky. A woman behind one of the booths in the ticketing hall is able to switch my ticket for the same train the following night without charging me any extra. I leave the station with sweat cooling on my brow and back, heading back to the hostel, vowing that I've learned a valuable lesson and I'll never be late again.
Least not till the next pretty face anyway...