Adventures getting to Beijing


Adventures getting to Beijing

Last night we had a flight booked from Shanghai to Beijing. All the details for our trip a written down in Chinese and we have our flight numbers all sorted. We thought we were rather well prepared for Europeans in China but we didn't count on the taxi drivers.

It comes time to leave for the airport. We need to be there an hour before and it's going to take about an hour to get there. Our flight is 8:50 so we pick up our bags and leave town. Jumping in a taxi we show the driver where we need to head on our little chart, he nods like he understands and we are on our way. Getting to the airport is smooth and we have heaps of time. I check in first and fumble my way through explaining where I need to go. The lovely checkin lady looks at her screen, smiles, hands back my passport and says "wrong airport - next please" and then follows a very difficult conversation trying to figure out why this isn't the right airport and what the heck we are meant to do about it.

We figure out that we have been taken to the wrong airport by the taxi driver and we need to be 40km across town at the other airport. What follows is a fantastic and crazy taxi ride at full speed across town to get to the other airport. The taxi driver actually jumped out at one stage and changed number plates, I assume so he wouldn't get speeding tickets. There was some serious ducking and weaving happening on that taxi ride but alas we didn't make it in time. So now our flight has left, we have no where to stay, and we are stuck in Beijing.

Oh the joys of traveling in a country that you can't speak the language.

None of us can really afford to buy new tickets but what other choice do we have? Sam and I have stayed in Shanghai the night and will catch a plane to Beijing at lunchtime. John and Sinclair will catch a 9 hour train. I would have liked to catch the train but I'm tired and frustrated and just want to sleep so I'll catch the train another day when I'm more prepared.

Sam and I made it to the right airport and after a few confusing moments trying to figure out if Air China is the same as China Air we made it through security and onto the plane. The Air China ticket people told us China Air was a different company. Actually they are the same company and we booked in with them. Never mind. Language is a fun barrier at times.

So all is well really; just a fun little hick-up along the way. I'll post some photos and video of the night soon.

2 comments (Add your own)

1. Penny wrote:
Hey, what would be the point of travel if there weren't any adventures. As you seem to be official scribe on this trip, tell Sam to keep all his tickets and documentation because he may be able to claim travel insurance.

Sat, March 21, 2009 @ 11:44 AM

2. Hayden Sanders wrote:
I agree. Traveling isn't about the expected. It's about the unexpected that catches you off guard. I like that life doesn't go the way I plan it to. It would be very boring if it did.

We have been in touch with travel insurance companies and we think we have it sorted. Don't know if they will help us out yet but we are doing what they ask all the same.

Sat, March 21, 2009 @ 1:37 PM

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