Good times at the Nightmare Hotel

Jinan Travel Blog

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3 days were enough of Beijing for us, so we arranged train tickets south to Ji'nan the next day.. 7 hours on one of the most crowded trains I've ever been on. Thank god we had reserved seats. The travel agent at our hostel refused to help us book a hotel in Ji'nan before we left (insert pissed off derogative here) so we ended up walking around Ji'nan around 9 at night looking for a room.

The first place we hit up immediately turned us away: the WNF-YJF policy... "we're not full - you're just foreign." This dude outside (who I had originally snubbed like I do everyone pitching a hotel) just laughed at us and motioned us to follow him.

We did and the hotel he brought us to had the same WNF-YJF policy. He shook his head and motioned for us to follow him to a different hotel. It was dark and the vibes on the street were already weird, so we had no choice. He led us to this real shit hole hotel, but there were these three young chinese girls behind the counter and we were charmed... personality goes a long way (and where the hell were we gonna go?), so we booked a room for the night. I thought the guy who led us there was gonna hit me up for money, but he just smiled and shook my hand and walked away. Our pensiveness completely dissolved when we dropped our bags off in our room (a nice room btw) and went to buy a beer from a little cart outside the hotel (we needed it) and the cart girls started speaking English to us (and teaching us chinese). Everything seemed to turn out alright.

The hotel turned into a complete nightmare.

The next morning we woke up late and Tracy asked if I thought we should take advantage of the laundry service while we were at the hotel. I didn't think it would be done by noon, our checkout time, but Trace said she'd find out first and took our clothes down to the lobby. She came back sans clothes- apparently they said no problem. 11:30 rolled around and Tracy went down to check on our clothes, but they told her it was gonna be some time still. She asked if 12:30 would be a good time - apparently they said no problem. She came back and I made some instant ramen. About 5 minutes after noon, us still in the room, munching on noodles, a woman came to our door and told us it was time to leave. As we were expecting to get our clothes back before we checked out of our room, we were a little confused, but still we packed our things and went down to the lobby.

I went to get my deposit of 100 yuan back from the desk but only got ten. Even more confused, I tried to understand why I wasn't getting all my money back, but the girl (the same charming one from the night before) didn't speak English. After about 5 minutes of arguing, it finally dawned on us that they were charging us a half a day for late check out. I looked at my watch: 12:15. Outrage. Yelling. Lots of gesturing. Fortunately another guest chanced to come down right then who spoke english and through her I tried to explain that we would have checked out on time had we not been waiting for our clothes (which they told us would be done before noon!). The lobby girl looked visibly panicked and moaned something in chinese. The other guest explained to me that the charge was done automatically on the computer and that if we didn't pay, whoever ran the hotel would make the lobby girl pay. Outrage. Clenched teeth. Reluctant surrender. They invited us to go back and relax in our room as we just paid for half a day, but we told them that (fuck you) we just wanted our clothes to be done so we could leave. They told us, no problem, please wait 10 minutes.

10 minutes later, they gave us back our clothes... dripping wet.

(After 2 years of drying my clothes on a clothes-line outside my apartment in Japan, you'd think it would have occured to me that maybe a one star hotel in China might not have a dryer either. A moment of silence for all the dumb assumptions made while traveling.)

Enough... we got the hell out of there and bought a bus ticket to Tai'an, the city at the base of one of china's most sacred mountains, Tai'shan. However, there were about 30 buses parked in a row and no English signs posted anywhere explaining which bus went where. But we had only passed maybe 3 buses before we were ushered onto a random bus by some hyper Chinese guy. The guy had no way of knowing where we were going, but amazingly it turned out to be the right one. Lucky for us -- our nerves were already shot from that morning's experience.

creativecaster says:
A truly bad nightmare
Posted on: May 02, 2012
carpefunk says:
haha i don't ;)
Posted on: May 01, 2007
newtampo says:
A clear sky after rain as you guys got the right bus after that nightmare :)
p.s. i like that policy, WNF-YJF
Posted on: Apr 30, 2007
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photo by: portia