Sunday, 3 May 2009


Granted, Kansas isn't the most beautiful state, but after spending a holiday weekend in Beijing, it definitely is more beautiful to me. I miss the wide open space and a state population of 3 million as opposed to the Beijing population of about 7.5 million. I had a great time at my hotel and eating lots of American food, but time spent out and about in Beijing and at the train stations was exhausting. I admit, patience is not one of my virtues. However, I don't like to get mad often-I figure there's no point, especially here in China since they can't understand me anyway if I do say something to them out of anger. Plus, I don't like feeling out of control, so I try to keep things in check. However, everyday something challenges my patience.

Today, it was a variety of small things. I requested a late check out at my hotel since my train wasn't until 4:30 and I was going to go eat beforehand, then go to the station. I called the reception Saturday and asked to check out at 1:30 and they said no problem. Then today, the manager calls my room at 12:30 wondering when I was going to check out and I explained, he said no problem. This didn't bother me, until I went to leave. In order to use the elevators at the hotel, you have to swipe your hotel key. They must have deactivated my key when I supposed to check out because my key wouldn't work. There was a phone, so I called the desk and explained that my key wouldn't work and she said "ok" and hung up. So, I didn't know if "ok" meant she would fix it or if I was supposed to take up residency on the 9th floor of the Marriott. I waited and waited, tried my key again, no luck. Finally, a bellman came to help me learn how to use my key. Good grief. 1) If I didn't know how to use a hotel key-how would I have gotten to the 9th floor to begin with? 2) If they want guests to leave-they should lock them out, not in. Then, the concierge wrote down the wrong directions for the cab driver to get to TGI Friday's. We were around the right area, but driving on some back road and heading in the wrong direction. Luckily, I know my way around the Jianguomen area, so I was able to direct him in the right direction.

TGI Friday's was great-I love the staff and the fact that they know me. My server gave me another survey, so I could get 50 RMB off my next meal. Today, my meal, drink, and dessert cost me about $3 thanks to the other survey discount. And, on the plus side, he was cute and has an English name, Stone. Not great, but I've heard much worse English names.

I didn't have anymore "testing of my patience" until the end of the train ride to Baoding. Technically, my train seat is mine until the train pulls up to the platform and I actually leave the seat. Well, the train was full and some people didn't have seats, so this man took it upon himself to push those of us getting off in Baoding out of the way in order for him to get one of our seats. He made the mistake of pushing me and I wasn't having it. I'm tired of being pushed, cut in front of in line, stared at, and numerous other social courtesies that the Chinese do not abide by. Plus, when pushed me, he slammed my bag with my laptop in it up against the chair. My Macbook is like my kid and it doesn't make me happy when it gets abused. Anyway, the man did not get my seat or any other seat in our row until I was ready to vacate the area. Other than that, things went smoothly. I'm just all about organization and planning and China is not.

Overall, I miss Kansas and it's clean air, wide spaces, and controlled population.