Getting Shanghai'ed

Shanghai Travel Blog

 › entry 12 of 15 › view all entries

[I'll be adding photos by the next time you read this]

I've been a fortunate traveler whenever I go to Asia. For the 5th flight in a row, I had no one next to me. To add to that, I didnt have anyone in the three seats next to me. Hello naptime.

I got to Logan at 5:15am, and tried to check in. The machine printed out a receipt saying "too early for check in, please check in within 24 hours of flight". My heart sunk, thinking I made a mistake. I asked the lady at the desk, and after some gruff attitude, she informed me that my 7am flight to Chicago (where I'd be connecting to Shanghai) was cancelled. I asked her if that was something she thought I'd want to know before leaving for the airport at 4:45 in the morning. She put me on the 6 am flight. Thank God there was a 6am flight.

The trip went smoothly, no turbulance.

Now, when I got to the Shanghai airport the Asian confrontation began immediately. A kind young Chinese lady immediately grabbed on to me. She looked very formal and nearly had me convinced that she was actually airport staff. I told her I needed a cab and she brought me to a booth. I had a feeling that with the eagerness to help, she probably wasn't airport staff, but I went along with it. 

She brought me over to the counter with the usual "so much going on, you can't think and just do whatever they tell you" trickery, and told me 300 RMB (~$45) to my hostel. This seemed crazy high for Shanghai, but the airport is far away from the city, so maybe not. She then filled out paperwork and handed me a piece of paper entitled "Car Rental Agreement".

This paperwork had about 30 lines of bold text, and all of a sudden it was the most urgent thing in the world to this lady that I sign this paper. I desperately needed to sign this "Car Rental Agreement" for 300 RMB, or else I would never make it anywhere out of the airport. And my first born might be sacrificed to the taxi gods.

So I tried to slow down the conversation. I pointed to a map. She kept asking me to sign so we could go. I asked her to show me on the map where my destination was (I knew full well what part of the map it was in, but I wanted to see what was going on). All of a sudden, another woman - who must have been her superior - stepped in and blatently yelled at me for even thinking to question their knowledge. "Our drivers know EXACTLY where they are going!!! You don't worry about that!!!".

Thanks. I'll take the train.

So I took the train, and after about 2 hours of exploring (because I had idiotically not written/printed the address in Chinese characters - so no one could help me) I found my hostel. The train cost $1.40.

I'm staying at Le Tour Travel Youth hostel. It had some awesome reviews, and I see why. It's a great place - allbeit located about 200 yards down a garbage strewn, and super sketch alleyway - hidden treasures I guess.

Around 8:30 I was sitting in the common room having a beer with a kid Andrew I met. And heard an usual question arise in the lobby. A young chinese lady asked in English "Hi. Is there a cat or a bird stuck in the wall?"...

"No, it's house cat. It OK. No worry."

"But it's making a screeching noise. And it's inside the wall in my room."

"No it OK. It can get out."

Right.

And so lastly. The bed I'm sleeping on for the next few nights is a pool table. Well, not literally. But it isn't even a bed. It is - without exaggeration -  a piece of plywood with a sheet over it. Just like a pool table. It's part of a bunk bed set up - just without the mattresses. But I didn't even care last night, it was a warm place to spread out and sleep after travelling for 22 hours, and it felt great.

Thanks for tuning in.

 

Chris

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Shanghai
photo by: Chokk