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We woke up to the beeping
We woke up to the beeping

We woke up to the beeping

We woke up to the beeping of the horn on the sleeper bus, after18 hours it smelt rancid and even though it was pitch dark at 4am and we had nowhere to go, I couldn’t wait to get off this nightmare of a bus. As soon as I got off I wished we could stay on. It was Baltic cold and I just wanted to be warm. We heaved our bags onto our shoulders when we were approached by an ugly Chinese man with protruding teeth, saying he’d bring us to Beijing for $10. “I thought we were in Beijing”, I said like a mad woman; after lying on the death bus for 18 hours, I was fit to box the head of whoever put us on this bus . woking taxi

It turned out we were in Beijing, but a taxi ride from our hostel so we had to chose which taxi. They were all harassing us to climb in to their taxi, coming up, trying to grab our bags so we’d follow them to their mode of transport. I was scared. There were just loads of men and us three lassies, shivering and looking very naïve. We didn’t know if we were about to brought away and sold as slaves or worse, we were being scammed and going to pay $10 for a $1 taxi ride. One man, who looked like he’d been sent to get us specifically stormed over to us in a way that seemed like he had three minutes to bring us to our destination or he’d never see his family again, offered to bring us for $2 and didn’t even wait for an answer as he led the way with my bag. Being on the ball, my friend took a picture of the light-thing on the roof of the taxi. We had proof we were in it, not if we’d been murdered or anything, because then he’d have the camera/evidence, but we felt like we’d be fine because we’d been thinking and were those kind of travellers that were prepared for every eventuality (kind of: we went with no insurance and no malaria tablets). It was only when he dropped us at our hostel and drove down the small, windy street that we noticed it only said taxi in luminous yellow, devoid of a licence, just like the other 2 million taxis in the city, but we were safe and we were in Beijing.

We knocked on the hostel door but here was no room at the inn, but they had a few rooms in their sister hostel down the road, which we were relegated to. We had a freezing cold room, that had no latch on the window and banged like crazy each night, a shower that took 40 minutes to warm up, and only two single beds for three single girls. We had previously been put into a room with three single beds but no shower and when we saw the spectacle they called a shower, I was confused – it looked like a basement used for storage with loads of boxes and broken chairs. It was a communal shower, which maybe I could have become accustomed to

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