Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Nanjing Subway Train

Nanjing has gotten the better of me. The language barrier is just too thick and the city is just too vast.

I easily mastered riding the Nanjing Metro. The token machines have an option labeled “English”, just put in Y2, grab a plastic token and tap on a designated strip on the turnstile and you’re in. The stops are labeled in English too. As a form of sheer, brute force tourism I tried just getting off at stops at random and walking around whatever neighborhoods I happened upon. Most of them didn’t have much to offer except stares from the few locals so all I got for my efforts were sore feet. The air in Nanjing is awful. The weather forecasts have called for partly sunny but the rays of old Sol never make it past all of the particulates suspended in the air. The sky here is gray, visibility is severely limited. The air smells like concrete and it probably is concrete too. It can’t be conducive to good health to breathe here but the locals do it and many compound it and smoke cigarettes too. Then again, if the air here doesn’t get ya the local drivers will.

I’m batting 500 on my attempt to take cabs here. My attempt to take a cab to Carrefour last night went perfectly. An available cab drove down the sidewalk (!) and I showed the driver my slip of paper and got in. My attempt to visit a famous huge bridge over the Yangtze was a bust though. Every cabbie I showed my slip of paper too shook his head and gave me a funny look, like I had recited the Gettysburg address backward.

I was at a Metro station and there were about 5 guys on motorcycles. They looked at my slip of paper and gestured to me that I get on the back of a bike. Riding on a motorcycle with Chinese strangers in Chinese traffic didn’t strike me as part of a healthy lifestyle so I patted the top of my head to indicate my lack of helmet. They had helmets, one of them offered to let me wear his. I still didn’t think that this was a great idea so I shook my head and walked away.

Tomorrow I move on. I had wanted to go to a warm city in the south, close to the Vietnamese border called Nanning but there are no seats on the plane so Nanning is a no go. So I've got to make due with next best, Guiyang. I'm thinking of staying in a higher end hotel, I need some of the soft life. Jin's Inn has been OK but it's a bit basic. The bed isn't much softer than the floor. I bought my plane ticket to Guiyang on line this morning, I'm supposed to pick it up at the airport tomorrow. Where at the airport is going to be another problem, here's the email from the company that sold me the ticket. Where do I pick up that ticket again Mandy???

Dear Sir,

Thank you for choosing eLong!

Regarding your reservation 12391623, you can pick up the ticket from the:


Your ticketing address:Eastern Airline's Counter (Wanlixing window), F2 of Terminal, Nanjing Airport

Best regards, Mandy English Team of Call Center eLong Inc. (NASDAQ: LONG) Tel: (8610)64329999 ext. 6 Fax: (8610)64311239 E-mail: Address: 2F, Block B, Galaxy Plaza, 10 Jiuxianqiao Middle Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100016

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