It’s an unfortunate limit to my Chinese that I don’t know how to say, “I’m sorry sir, but I don’t think this is a road.”
I just returned from Dalian where I had dinner (complete with a mystery “meat” dish that resembled cartilage in texture) with the remainder of our group – Lorna, Alan and Vanessa. I was hoping to bring along Emma, but I discovered that she is actually arriving tomorrow, not today.
As Alan and Vanessa live in the far north end of Dalian, I figured, what with the time of night and no train schedule, that I may as well flip for the expense of a taxi ride back to Jinzhou. Alan said that it had only cost them about 35 kuai previously… which is about $5. Even at night-time rates I figured it was worth avoiding the hassle of the train… especially if I had missed the last one.
It wasn’t really until we started slowing down on the highway to read the signs that I began to wonder if my driver really knew where Jinzhou was – never mind my address in Jinzhou. It was after the “… I don’t think this is a road…” moment but before the big dusty tunnel turn around that I was well certain we were lost. If there had been any doubt left, the stopping to ask two guys riding their fruit carts home(?) on a dark and lonely road where Jinzhou was (thinly disguised in a “where is Sheng Bin?” – I mean, there was no city to be seen at this point.. asking where my apartment was seemed sort of otiose) put all my doubts to rest.
However! I did eventually make it home. Well after the meter hit 60 RMB, reset itself and started counting again. I imagine it was up to about 75 or 80 when we finally hit the train station in Jinzhou and I could see Sheng Bin in the distance. I kindly explained to the guy (miming “we went around in circles!”) that I wasn’t going to pay more than 50 kuai.. and I felt that was being generous… but after having had to contemplate walking in the cold Liaoning countryside at night … I was just happy to be home. I’m getting myself a train schedule.