Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A wild weekend.

Last week, HuYi asked a pressing question.

“You want go be tourist this weekend?”
“Well,” I hesitated “Where do we go?”
“Tourist” she repeated.
“Hmmmm, okay, what would we do?”
“You go… what word, I don’t know, waiting a moment…” Out comes the pocket translator, and a few moment later, she holds it up for me triumphantly.
It reads “Thermal springs”.
“Oh,” I say “In the U.S we say ‘hot springs’”.
She nods at me. I look over at Eric, deeply absorbed in his computer.
“What do you think babe?”
“Sure,” he said absent mindedly.
“Okay,” I said, “we’ll go.”

Fast forward to Saturday morning at 7:20 am. We are standing by the bus stop with a backpack. It isn’t unbearably hot yet, but it will be soon. A man in a blue dress shirt and khaki pants stops a few feet away from us to vomit. “Someone stayed too late at KTV last night…” I think. Poor guy is clearly hung over, but shows a remarkable determination to get to work for the requisite half day most Chinese people put in on Saturday.

We have given $900 RMB (about $115 U.S dollars) to our friend to give to her friend who is a travel agent. Hu Yi has told us that we are not, under any circumstances, to pay any more money. The $900 should cover our meals, bus fare and hotel room. “You like baby.” She’d said the night before, and I had to agree with her.

I feel like a kindergartner with a note from my mother pinned to my shirt. I’m looking at the text message she sent with the bus license plate number and instructions to bring our swimsuits. We have no idea where we are going. Eric thinks she said something about the forest. I think she was just saying “tourist”, but either way, we are quite unprepared for the adventure about to befall us.

My phone rings. It’s a man speaking in Chinese. I’m not sure if it’s the bus driver or tour guide or travel agent. We are in the designated spot HuYi carefully showed us on two separate occasions. He is speaking rapidly and the only word I get is “you”. “I don’t understand.” I say in Mandarin. (This is one phrase I have completely mastered) He keeps talking. “I don’t understand you,” I repeat. He hangs up. I look at Eric. “Well, that seems about right” He says, and leans against a signpost.

I try to call HuYi, but her phone is off, she is probably still asleep. I don’t want to call anyone else, it is really too early still. We buy some bottles of water at the news stand and wait. I check the license plate number again. B27745 is nowhere to be found.

Suddenly, a white bus comes hurtling our way and comes screeching to a halt at the curb. A tiny man in a red shirt and cap jumps onto the sidewalk and starts talking to us in Mandarin. I check the license plate. B456432. The man is gesturing to a paper in his hands.

“I think that’s our cell phone number.” Eric says, and pulls out his phone to double check. Sure enough it is our phone number.

We exchange glances and hesitate. We don’t know where this bus is going or when we’ll be back to ShenZhen. We don’t have our passports or any sort of tickets. The license plates don’t match, and we can’t get a hold of HuYi to double check. If anything goes wrong, we can’t really communicate because I forgot to pack our Chinese English Dictionary. We are boarding this bus on the strength of a crumpled piece of paper with our phone number scrawled on it.

“Well, you ready?” Eric asks.
“Let’s go.” I say and just like that we’re off on another adventure...

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...