Monday, September 5, 2011

Back at the Howard Johnson

So far there is no mosquito, any bears and the buffalo are still roaming.

Yesterday was as close to a horror story as you can get without actual horror happening.

The hardest thing about living in Shanghai as budget people is the taxi travel. You never know how much time to plan for travel. How long will the elevator take, how long to get a taxi, how nasty will traffic be? Yesterday nothing took any extra time and we arrived at the train station an hour and a half early. Then we discovered our train was delayed 30 minutes. The train station is not a great place to hang out. We decided to try the Chinese restaurant and sit a spell. Yuck. Everything was horrible. When the waitress finally took our order she said no to everything we picked out. Finally she showed us the one thing we could order. The nasty, greasy, al dente fried rice.

There are no washrooms at the train station unless you are the most desperate person on earth.

We finally get through the ticket taker and make it downstairs to the train platform and there is no train. So everyone lines up at their car number and hangs out. Chinese hanging out consists of pushing and shoving to get closer to being first in line. I think this is slightly dangerous on a train platform.  When the train arrives it stops at a different spot than normal and everyone surges to the right to re-fight for their number one spot.

Entertain for this trip involved a shouting match and various personal grooming lessons. There was a guy sitting with friends without a proper ticket. That was the shouting match. It was fairly lengthy and he won. The train attendant reported him to various train staff and police men at the different stops, but no one ever approved him. So he sat there with this purple sunglasses and picked his nose and flicked it for a couple hours. These people can be filthy. Right behind him sat a lady that thought she was in her personal boudoir. She acted like a movie star, taking 30 minutes before she was satisfied  with how she was sitting. Up and down constantly re-arranging her shawl. Then she proceeded to rub lotion on every visible surface and give herself a massage. She was a big girl so there was quite a bit of flesh to rub.

There was a little excitement in my world. I had room service as Big Daddy had to work late and when they brought the tray . . . there were packets of ketchup, salt and black pepper. I almost cried. Those are very hard condiments to get here.

1 comment:

  1. Your story reminds me of the one I read about the POW in Changi. The highlight of his month was when he caught a fat grasshopper. He did cry.