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Getting lost in China!

Hot 1990 views. 2019-11-18 10:40 |Individual Classification:My life today

When I started learning Chinese on Feb. 26, 2004, I picked up a phrase book in a bookstore and by the end of the day I said, "I speak Chinese."  I could only say 你好 (hello, in Chinese), but it was the attitude I needed.  I told myself I was going to do this!  Now I say, "Learning Chinese is dangerous!  It can result in grandchildren!"  But that's a story for another day.  After my son married one of my business contacts in China, I visited China four times so far, in 2014, 2015, 2018, and 2019, for a total of 27 weeks, more than half a year spent in China in total.

In 2018, I made plans to stay in China for four months.  When my Chinese friends heard I was going to China, everyone wanted to meet me.  However, they lived in different places.  Julian asked me to teach English at his winter camp in Jinjing, a small town north of Changsha in Hunan Province (notice the English word order for 湖南长沙金井) and one of his friends wanted me to visit Chengdu.  Another QQ contact wanted me to visit Yuxi in Liangshan Yi when he heard I was going to Chengdu.  Other friends wanted to see me in Guangzhou and Shenzhen.  I always fly into Shanghai because I have a colleague in there.  And, all in 2018, I wanted to go to see my many friends in Shenyang where my son's wife is from.  One of her friends wanted me to use English to teach art to 3-5 and 6-8 year old children, which is a third story.

Nevertheless, one of my goals in 2018 was to learn to travel independently.  Going to all those places involved a lot of travel on my own, but I wanted to go to town on my own.  So, while in Shenyang (actually I was staying west of Shenyang), when a woman contacted me and asked me to visit her city of Shenbei, north of Shenyang (obviously north since bei (北) means "north in Chinese), I decided to get adventurous and find out how to get there.  Getting there by myself required several steps but they seemed simple enough: take the bus to the Shenyang subway, on the subway transfer from the east/west route and go north on the north/south route, take bus 382 to Shenbei.  Despite my planning, I ran into a problem.  I could not remember the bus number!  I finally contacted my friend and she told me to take bus 382 and ride to the end of the line.  That was simple enough.

I found Shenbei easily and met the woman.  She was nice but spoke very little English.  She tried to find me a hotel where I could stay, but it was no surprise to me that the hotel she had in mind did not accept foreigners; I was well aware of that issue.  So, I decided to take bus 382 back to Shenyang and go home to Shencai.  However, once on the bus, I made another mistake.  I failed to pay attention and missed the subway station. I thought, "That's ok. This bus is going south.  The subway line goes south.  I'll just stay on the bus until I see a sign for another subway station."  It was a great plan that didn't work.  I soon found myself in downtown Shenyang with no idea of how to find a subway station.  "Good," I thought!  "This is the experience I needed.  I have to use Chinese to get home."  Speaking with other passengers I was able to get someone to ask the bus driver where I needed to get of so I could get on the subway.  Once on the subway, I found my way west and still had to use Chinese to get a taxi back to Shencai.

As for the second time at getting lost in Shenyang, I'll leave that story to next time.

Post comment Comment (5 replies)

Reply Sumingyu 2019-11-19 20:51
Speaking with other passengers I was able to get someone to ask the bus driver where I needed to get of so I could get on the subway.
get of or get off?
Reply Sumingyu 2019-11-19 20:52
bus 382, a brief expression
Reply Sumingyu 2019-11-19 20:58
It's new to me that contact means person.
Reply sedgehead 2019-11-20 13:01
Sumingyu: Speaking with other passengers I was able to get someone to ask the bus driver where I needed to get of so I could get on the subway.
get of or get o ...
Get off!  Of course.  I made a mistake!
Reply sedgehead 2019-11-20 13:03
Sumingyu: It's new to me that contact means person.
Yes, "Another QQ contact wanted me to visit Yuxi."  The word "contact" can mean "a person."  For example, I have several contacts in the US Forest Service.  I am retired now, but I know them and used to work with them.  I have numerous contacts in China!

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