When thinking about where to stay in a new city, I always consider my two options; to order in advance or just go there and see what’s free. I usually choose the internet because an online booking should make sure that I’ve a place to stay during the night. Well, this is not always true.
Yesterday, when I found the address of my hotel, there was no hotel with that name in the building, I was standing in front of. I asked some locals but nobody knew about the place so I sat down on the sidewalk (normal thing to do in China, they don’t seem to do many benches or maybe there are just too many people). Anyway, I tried to call the hotel but the number wasn’t in service anymore, great!
But then from there, everything turned to the better. Chinese people are always very concerned about the poor foreign girl traveling on her own, so they started to look around after an answer to where my hotel had gone. When they came back, I learned that the hotel had changed image like phone number, name and logo. Right, obviously yeah, so I took the elevator up through the almost-falling-apart-building, I’d been in front for almost an hour by now, until I reached fourth floor and saw two smiling girls at the reception (not common with service-minded people here either).
I did say that it went smooth from there. It kind of did but still, we did have some technical problems anyway. So the next issue was that my passport doesn’t look like the Chinese ID card which means that the girls had no clue how to check me in. Oh yes, and they had never heard about booking.com, so my reservation was not important either. But as it turned out, because of all this, I actually got a much cheaper room than the ‘foreign-friendly’ one, I’d booked online. They always put the price up for foreigners.
Then after I told the girl that she couldn’t swipe my passport and that she could just use my Chinese name, she finally had me checked in and I went up to my new room with a window, private bathroom, working wifi, hot water and cold air-condition. I was thrilled!
For once, everything turned out to the better though I have to say that not being able to speak Chinese would be an extreme disadvantage in this situation. I think I would’ve given up much earlier (also because I’d been up since 4 o’clock in the morning and climbed a cave with my backpack) if I hadn’t been able to explain my situation because these people must’ve never worked with foreigners before. My passport seemed like a threat to the girls in the hotel. That isn’t normal right? 😀
So when friends ask me why I wanted to learn Chinese, well, my answer should be pretty clear; I want to survive my time in China!! This is easier done being able to communicate because problems seem to come out of nowhere here all the time.
Read also; What if they can’t read my passport?