Ce Suo, Kuai Kuai!

Trip Start Aug 25, 2010
Trip End Jun 29, 2011

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Where I stayed
Mingtown Youth Hostel

Flag of China  , Zhejiang,
Monday, January 10, 2011

As I figured I would be, I was too tired to write an entry last night.  I'm making up for it now.

Our day started yesterday with the usual taxi ride to the train station.  Our favorite unofficial taxi driver, Yin Xin Ping, found us as we were heading to the gate.  We told him that we wanted to go to the new train station.  Before departing, we had confirmed with a few people that even though we were taking a "D" train instead of the usual "G" train, we still had to go to the new train station rather than the old one. 

However, when we got to the train station, we didn't see our train on the board.  I brought my ticket to a security guard, who told me, of course, that me and my peng you (friend) were supposed to be at the lao huo che zhan (old train station).  I was worried for a minute, because there's no connecting terminal, so the walk from the new station to the old one is long and time consuming.  But the guard motioned for my peng you and I to follow him, and he took us through the gate, onto the new platform, in an elevator, and eventually to an underground hallway whose ceiling was about six feet high, not including the large steam pipes that ran overhead, to the old platform. 

We caught our train, which turned out to be a new, high speed one, and we arrived in Hangzhou two hours earlier than we had anticipated.  The ride was only four hours.  Before we left, the guard showed us how to tell from our tickets which train station we're supposed to go to.  The old train station is called the "north station," and has the character for bei (north) at the bottom.  The new train station is called the "south station," and has the character for nan (south) at the bottom.  Such a simple solution.

Anyway, we caught a taxi from the train station in Hangzhou to our hostel, the lovely Mingtown Youth Hostel.  This is the part of my story from which the title of this entry comes.  I'm a little embarassed to commit these few minutes of my life to writing, but Sam would think me cowardly if I didn't.

So, we're in the taxi, sitting through traffic, going over bumps, stopping abruptly to avoid all the cars, scooters, and pedestrians who are paying no attention to the lane dividers, and generally taking forever to get where we want to go.  Meanwhile, I've had to pee since the train.  It's getting painful, and I'm begining to have visions of myself pissing the back of the taxi. 

I know it's bad when we drive over a river and I think I'm going to lose my mind because of all the water.  So, when we get off the bridge, I decide it's best to risk the trouble of communicating with the taxi driver and just ask to stop at a bathroom.  I knock on the plastic divider between the front seat and the back, and in an exaggerated, desperate voice, tell the taxi driver, ce suo, ce suo (toilet, bathroom, whatever you like to call it).  He looks a little confused, so I say, ce suo, kuai kuai (bathroom, hurry)!  He gets it, but doesn't know where to stop.  

Sam had known I had to use the bathroom, but he hadn't known I needed to go that badly, and at my outburst, his exact words were, "I don't know what to do about this."  The taxi driver came through, though, and found me a public bathroom on one of the corners of the intersection we were driving through.  I used the squatty potty, ran back to the taxi, and felt like I had a new lease on life.

 Anyway, a few minutes later, we pulled up in front of our hostel, checked in, set our bags down in our room, then walked the short distance to the incredible West Lake, or Xi Hu.  It's even more beautiful than we had pictured, and we spent the rest of the afternoon walking around it.  There's also an excellent cafe in our hostel, probably the best I've been to in China both for the coffee and the decor, so we sat there for an hour or so in the early evening and read.  For dinner, we went to a Japanese restaurant across the street. 

As we walked around the lake yesterday, everytime we saw a public bathroom, Sam said "kuai kuai!"  I don't think he'll ever stop teasing me about it.

This keyboard is rubbish and the computer doesn't have spell check, so I apologize for any mistakes.

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