A slow day
Jiayuguan Travel Blog› entry 21 of 24 › view all entries
When you have to be at an airport for mid-afternoon, it's hard to be motivated to do much. And I think I've pretty much exhausted Jiayuguan anyway. So I just had another trip out to where the wall is, had a bit of lunch, and then hung around at the hotel.
Jiayuguan airport is the tiniest I've ever come across. When the taxi dirver pulled up, my instant reaction was 'is this it?'. The departure hall was tiny and there were two check-in desks (both for the same flight). Unbelievably there wasn't even anywhere to buy a bottle of water. Considering the Chinese will set up a shop anywhere (even the bus station in town had six) it was very strange. I assumed there would be one at the one and only gate, after security. But no. The only catering option was one water boiler, for people to top up their tea jars* or make their noodle pots. My request for water was just met with an offer of a paper cup to take to the water boiler.
*Most Chinese people carry what looks like an elongated jam jar with a metal screw lid. It looks a little bit unsavoury with its slightly 'off' coloured water inside - but it's actually tea. They top it up as they go, using the same green tea leaves.
As I waited in the check-in queue, a huge row broke out. Again, frustratingly, I never got the slightest idea what about. One woman started yelling at the check in girl. Another woman started yelling. Soon, three woman in the queue were all screaming at each other. The a bloke joined in and screamed at everyone, it seemed. This went on for ages, with everyone else in the queue tutting at them. Goodness knows what it was all about.
Anyway - the time of my departure came and went, with no sign of a plane. There were no displays of any kind, and no announcements. It really was more primitive than any of the bus stations I've used. Eventually, an hour late, the plane turned up, and there was the usual Chinese pushing and shoving free for all. I'm really getting quite good at this now. I can elbow people out of the way and push in, with the best of them.
After a touch down in Xian to offload some passengers and take on others, we finally landed in Shanghai at midnight. Sadly the Maglev doesn't run after 10pm, so I had to get a taxi to my hostel. At least this time, the driver didn't try to rip me off. The temperature at 1am was stifling, and it was horribly humid. Fortunately there's a very antiquated and noisy air conditioner in the room.