The long journey home
Trip Start May 06, 2010
101Trip End Apr 14, 2011
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I did end up doing a little Christmas/souvenir shopping there. The one boutique I went to had an incredibly persistent vendor. She kept saying, “This price no good, it’s ok, you name a price. You my first customer, it’s ok.”
I wanted to go see the Temple of Heaven after, but I just didn’t have the energy for it. It was also raining out, and I was scared to turn my probable bronchitis into certain pneumonia.
Instead, I went back to my hostel and napped, drank tea, and read my book. I may regret not going to the Temple of Heaven, but didn’t want to come back to work incredibly sick.
I had to get up early on Saturday to head to the subway and get to the airport. There’s a subway line that runs directly to the airport, and makes life a lot easier (plus it’s about a tenth of the cost of a cab). The problem with the subway is that it stops at two terminals, and there is no indication as to which terminal is which. Of course I got off at the wrong one. I had to take a shuttle bus over to the other terminal, which was fine, but a little unnecessary stress added to my day.
Saturday was a reminder to me that I should always have a book handy for airports. I had finished my book the day before and hadn’t found any English books in my wandering of the city, so I was perfectly willing to buy an overpriced airport book. The only problem is that there are absolutely no English books in any airports in China. It wouldn’t have been quite as bad, but for the fact that my flight was pushed back. I tried to pass the time by writing some lessons and my grocery list…
One fantastic thing about the long time I spent in airports on Saturday was a sign I saw on a set of stairs at the airport that said, “Be careful of floor slide”. I guess that means be careful not to slip, but it made me smile.
I was really happy to get back to Thailand. It took a long time and many modes of transportation to get from Beijing back to my apartment, and it felt really, really good to be home.
So let me sum up China for you: absolutely no one speaks English there. Ok, that’s an exaggeration, but not by much. Most people have their memorized scripts and then can give you nothing else in English. There weren’t any TV channels in English, and there were no books in English.
I had been warned by one of the judges that I tutor that the toilets in China are really disgusting. I figured if someone in Thailand was saying they were bad, then they had to be bad. But, other than the fact that they were pretty much all squatter toilets, they were no grosser than some that I’ve seen in Thailand. Maybe that says something about how my standards have changed over the months that I’ve been here.
Finally, China was beautiful. I did get really tired of the smog, the spitting, and shoving, but it was really pretty. But I doubt any place in Asia is ever going to be as loved by me as Thailand is.