“When I started this journey, I was scared of myself. I had a moment of doubt that morning I woke up and realized, today is the day.”
Arriving in China: As I walked off the plane and into the airport, a handful of emotions started to creep up on me. Nervousness was not one of them. I felt alone, I felt lonely, I felt like an alien. After a 16 hour trip half way across the world, a cigarette was the only thing I wanted. I didn’t see any vendors that sold cigarettes at the airport, so I approached an unarmed police officer. I pulled out a one hundred dollar bill and held it in one hand, while I performed my best charades act of smoking with the other. The police officer indicated that she wanted me to follow her. She led me to the nearest exit, pointed outside and said “smoke here.” I was shit out of luck.
12 more hours at Shanghai airport, until I am on my way to Hangzhou train station.
Train to Hangzhou: I took a coach bus to the nearest speed train station. As I got off the bus and entered the train station, I was surprised. The level of security there was similar to the high security at the airport. My bags were checked once again, I emptied all of my pockets, took off my belt, and went through another metal detector. Once inside I noticed that people were smoking everywhere; which I didn’t mind much. Needless to say, I light up and posted up in front of my train entrance.
The trip to Hangzhou was peaceful and scenic, except for one thing. The cute girl sitting next to me, was crying the whole ride. It appeared as though her boyfriend broke up with her over we-chat or something, because she couldn’t take her eyes or fingers off of her phone. I tried to sleep, but it proved difficult.
It was at this moment, I realized that I have a real soft spot for Asian women. I could feel emotion; I wanted to console her but the the only Mandarin word I knew at the time was “nin hao,” which means hello in English.
If it was a western woman, I would have turned the other way, left my seat, and found somewhere else to sleep in peace.
Getting off at Hangzhou train station: As I exited the train station, I had to undergo another metal detector and bag check. I passed the gate, and was literally chased up the stairs by locals trying to sell me trinkets and things. I caught my breath when I reached the last flight of stairs, light a smoke, and walked up the last flight.
To be continued…
Coming next: Part: 2 “What have I gotten myself into?”