Baffled In Beijing


Sorry, I’m behind on updates right now, but I’ll be posting stuff as I put things together. It’s going to stay in chronological order, which means that posts going up won’t be covering things happening right now, but rather stuff that happened a couple of days ago. That’s just how it’s going to be until I catch up.

That said, I lost my phone as we were making our way out of Beijing on Saturday night. Actually, it wasn’t just that – long story:

1. We arrived by metro to the Beijing Train Station about 30 minutes before our overnight sleeper train was to depart for Xi’an. As we were getting out, we pulled out our train tickets. “Hey, wait a minute, does it matter that this ticket says the origin is ‘Beijing West’? Is that our station?” We asked the attendant, and to our horror, discovered that we’re at ‘Beijing Main’ train station and the ‘Beijing West’ station was halfway across the city on the other side. “Ahhh!” we cried, and ran back into the metro station.

2. With about 12 minutes to spare, we made it to the other metro stop, but realized that we still needed to take a taxi to get us to the actual train station. So we did. We called a taxi and arrived with about 5 minutes remaining before departure. Then came the mad sprint through the (incredibly) crowded train station, which was fruitless as we were eventually told that it was too late to board, and we had to reschedule. Bummer. “Well, I better call George and let him know that we’ll be arriving later.”

3. Then I realized that my phone wasn’t in my pocket. Gah! Apparently, it fell out during the rush in and out of that taxi, which I’m sure of since I checked my phone while we were on the metro. That’s two strikes. First we missed our train. Second I lost my phone in the process.

4. We did manage to book hard sleeper tickets for another train leaving for Xi’an three hours later. Most of all, we were able to eventually (after talking to about three different people scattered around the vast station) get our original ticket values mostly refunded, something they usually don’t do I think (missing your train typically means that you get to use the pass as a ‘standing ticket’ for another train leaving later, not as credit towards buying new spots). Thus we avoided strike three.

But wow, what a long ordeal. The station was so large and crowded that we had to literally wade through oceans of people to get around. It really was a taxing experience, but thank God we made it through safely with nothing more than emotional fatigue.

As usual, the pictures. These were taken at the end of the day before we got on our second train.

Waiting lounge to board our train. Needless to say, there are a lot of people in China.

Finally about to board. We’re coming down the stairs to the platform, and that’s our train.

View from the platform looking up. China is big and the people are many, don’t get lost in there.

Coming soon: photos and blog entries from Xi’an, the cultural capital of China! Stay tuned…



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3 responses to “Baffled In Beijing

  1. Cindy

    sorry to hear about the phone, jasper 😦

    i’m flying into hong kong tmr evening from palo alto…let me know if you or john cai need anything from the states

  2. jaspercheng

    Thanks a lot Cindy! Actually, Johncai and I are good in terms of stuff. Have a safe trip.

    By the way, do you know what the schedule is for cultural exchange people? When do you actually get into Shanghai from Hong Kong?

  3. Carlton

    haha…it’s your first disaster where I’m not involved. Nice.

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