There’s always a downside to travelling: long flights and long layovers.
In my case it was the latter.
Having 17 hours between flights in Shanghai the best thing to do was get a hotel. And according to Booking.com there are an abundance of reasonable hotels within 10 minutes of the airport.
With a few clicks, my bed for the night was sorted, as was the free shuttle. All I had to do was get off the flight, get on the shuttle and then get into bed: perfect.
But like all best laid plans, it often takes only one element to fail and everything turns proverbially pear shaped.
My failed element was the shuttle. Yep, it wasn’t there.
Not one to be daunted easily I simply walked over to the info desk where a lovely young girl happily offered to call the hotel.
Enter problem number two. The number on my booking.com booking was not connected.
‘Sorry, number not work, you get taxi…’
Ok so be it, taxi it is. Still undeterred I asked her to check how far and the approximate cost of the taxi. As any experienced traveller will tell you, unsuspecting tourists often get slogged for small taxi fares. Better to err on the side of caution.
‘Ten minute only, 60 RMB…’she said dismissing with a wave of her hand. Obviously I’d used up all my free questions, so off I went in search of the taxi rank.
It wasn’t hard to find and after being directed to the next taxi, I showed my driver the hotel address, which was also in Chinese. With much nodding and hand waving, there was some semblance of assurance that I was on my way and I felt mildly confident that I’d soon be enjoying a hot shower and a warm bed.
There was no doubt I was on my way, just apparently not to my hotel and my supposed 10 minute ride quickly became 30. I suppose I should’ve been grateful for the tour of Pudong and to have met a few lovely hotel receptionists at the ‘wrong’ hotels we stopped at, but fatigue and frustration had started to take over.
Clearly my driver had no idea and just when I was about to try and get him to head back to the airport, he started gibbering excitedly and was gesturing toward a brightly lit building.
‘Jie Jia, Jie Jia…’ he shouted gleefully behind his plastic driver protection screen, whilst animatedly pointing at a brightly lit building.
Apparently, we’d finally arrived.
Thirty minutes and a hot shower later, I sat on the bed and had a little giggle to myself. Yep, travel certainly presents challenges that can result in frustration, but I guess it comes down to how we let those challenges affect us.
Sometimes you just have to let it ride over you and smile.
And on the plus side of my soirée in Shanghai. Meeting fantastic China Eastern crew and two hilariously funny Chinese tourists whilst waiting in line to board the flight to Paris. They were in the 70’s, thought I was Russian, then on finding out I was on my own, Australian and walking across Spain, I became their hero 🤣🤣🤣. I could easily dedicate an entire post to them …