Monday, November 12, 2007


It turns out the Nanjing airport is about 30 or 40 miles south of downtown. And my suitcase was delivered to me wet. Dry on the inside, wet on the outside. Wet with alcohol or some kind of non water based liquid (industrial solvent?) so at least it dried quickly. Outside were the usual collection of cabbies that hounded me but a few chants of "boo yao" (Mandarin for "don't want") dissolved them. A bus was loading, I paid Y25 and boarded. On the plane into Nanjing on China Eastern Airlines every announcement was bilingual, in spite of the fact that I appeared to be the only non Chinese passenger. China Eastern also ran a few informational videos during the flight instructing people to save energy and cut greenhouse gasses by buying compact florescent lighting and driving less. No mention of flying less though.

But all the announcements on the bus were strictly in rapid fire Mandarin and naturally I appeared to be the only non Mandarin speaker. And I had no way of checking if this bus was even going to Nanjing. But it did. And it started to drop off passengers who'd need to retrieve luggage in the big storage compartment under the seating area, often just stopping in a lane of traffic because in Chinese traffic size and might makes right. Eventually there were fewer and fewer people on the bus and finally I let myself out. I hailed a cab and showed the driver a piece of paper with my hotel placed on a map. He shook his head no, gave me back my map and drove away. The next cabbie studied the map and finally looked up, smiled and shouted, "OK". Within a few blocks he made a U-turn and then charged into a dark alley at top speed. Within a few blocks he stopped at my hotel, the Xinjiekou branch of a local chain called Jin's Inn. Schmuck's luck, I was close to my destination all along.

Please read: I'm heavily handcuffed in my blogging here in China. Blogger is mostly off limits from within China, I can't see my own blog. I can post pictures to my account in Flickr but I can only see my own pictures that I've uploaded from China. All other pictures on Flickr, even my own pictures, are blocked by the Great Firewall of China. I am able to do these rudimentary blog entries by telling Flickr that'd I'd like to base a post on Blogger on a particular picture. I can then edit in a small box on Flickr but can't see the final product on Blogger. It's kind of a 21st century Samizdat. Fun stuff so please forgive any layout faux pas.

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