At 6:30 a.m. we ventured off to Beijing West Railway station to commence on our journey to Henan (another province in China). With my backpack full of clothes, snacks, and meds, I braced myself for travelling to an unknown land without adult supervision for the first time ever.
We got hard sleepers which were actually pretty comfortable. The best part of it all was we somehow managed to organize ourselves in one compartment even though we were originally separated into 3 different compartments. The train ride from Beijing to Henan trip took about 10-ish hour. In this time, I felt pretty productive... my train ride schedule was as followed: sleep, journal, sleep, eat, blog, sleep, socialize with Chinese university students. There were 2 lone travelers on the train, both of which were students our age It was really nice getting to talk to Chinese people my age. Even with the cultural difference, we had similar interests too, like asian dramas (lee Min Ho in particular), Big Bang Theory, and even True Blood.
|Remnants of Tanjin's small watermelon|
When we arrived, we got our train tickets for our next city for tomorrow. We grabbed a late night snack/dinner at KFC.
I finally tried the seafood stars that are in every KFC advertisement around Beijing. I was pretty disappointed with what I got: 2 pieces of seafood stars = 7 RMB
We had a bit of difficulty finding the hostel. We walked up and down the streets and even asked the police officers. The officers offered to take us to our hostel, but we politely declined and kept on walking. Moments later, we saw the police car following us. The officers offered us a ride again and after declining for the second time, the police went their own ways. While we were looking at a map, a lady came up to us and asked if we needed help. We asked if she knew how to get to the hostel and then she offered to take us there. We also declined her offer, with Catherine being the most suspicious of the random lady. Like the police officer, the lady was really persistent to help us and ended up following us. That’s when I started to feel a little creeped out -- why couldn't they all just stop following us! We scurried over to the nearest hotel and asked the workers for help. A few moments later, the lady entered the hotel. Her over eagerness to help us reminded me of scam stories, where you take help in exchange for money (like in India, Mexico, even homeless people in America will ask you for money in exchange for their help). The nice lady at the desk helped us grab a taxi however as Kristie was about to get on, the driver said no (we’re not sure if the driver was either racist or followed the rules of only 3 people in the backseat – there was 5 of us because the hotel lady was helping us). Anyways, we changed our plans and began walking and then we saw the police officers parked in the corner. The hotel lady spoke with the officers and the police once again offered to take us there. We accepted their gracious offer and the 4 of us squeezed into the back seat of the police car. Ya, that’s right, I rode in a police car. My very first Chinese police car ride. Actually, it was my very first police car ride in life! Pretty cooool. We arrived at the hostel with the police with great relief. At the hostel I was greeted nicely by a hipster looking Chinese dude. We entered our tired selves in our room with great enthusiasm.
|drawing on the walls of the hostel|
|we left our marks|
|In one room, there was a double bed and a TV set.|
|I haven't watched TV since February.|
|We redecorated a bit, moving the two double beds into one gigantic one.|
|Our washroom was pretty spacious|
It was an adventurous first day indeed.