Looking Up?

Ah, since leaving Macau, and maybe since leaving Phnom Penh, life’s been one hassle after another. In short, I lost a brand new digital SRL camera on a plane, had my visa rejected in Hong Kong and faced a lot of hassle and expense fixing that so I could get back into China before school starts on Monday.

I was forced to go to Shenzhen, a horrid, dirty, dismal city to get a flight to Jinan. I’m completely “shindoi” which is Japanese Kansai dialect for “tired, body and soul.” Now I’m back in Jinan, but busy preparing for Monday and helping the new teachers settle in. Believe it or not all of them had flight delays due to the high level of pollution. In fact, the airlines had four of them just take the train here.

You know something’s wrong if the airlines want you to take a train.

I’ll provide details tomorrow or the next day.

Come On

I followed my orders. I reminded the assistant that she needed to get our return tickets today. I did this first thing. She then replied to my email. Then we called her at 2:30 after the rest time to check on the status. Well, she wouldn’t be going till after 4pm.

What? She’s Chinese and knows that these tickets are hard to come by. She knows that we might be stuck in Henan.

She said it was too early to get the tickets. Hardly. And she knows it and we know she’s making this up to save face. Round and round we go as is the custom in the Middle Kingdom. Mind you we could have gotten our own tickets at 10am since we finished for the day then, but the assistant had offered. Yes, offered twice.

We quickly phoned a student to see if she could get the tickets as we were now downtown and didn’t have money with us. The student went into action. However, at the ticket agency she learned that all the tickets for Saturday are sold out. How about Sunday, you ask?

Sorry those tickets won’t go on sale till tomorrow. That’s the national “system.” Ugh!

We’re on pins and needles, though I’m feeling a bit better as a Texan expat tipped me off on the best way to fly to Jinan if we need to. We don’t have to go via Beijing or Shanghai. Zhengzhou is close to Luoyang and they have flights to Jinan.