No, I did not go to China by bicycle, although that would have been a nice idea too! 😉 I chose a more conventional way, at least I thought so.
|Photo by Maria Hochleitner|
After six hours flying to Abu Dhabi and then flying another eight hours to Hong Kong with almost no sleep at all, the only thing I had on my mind was going to bed as soon as possible. But things turned out to be more complicated than I had thought: Because of a delayed flight I arrived in Hong Kong later than I had actually planned. Luckily I had no problems finding a bus to Guangzhou, but the passport control on the border to China was so complicated and unstructured that it did take me another four hours until I finally arrived in Guangzhou. Since it was rush hour it was almost impossible to get a taxi.I tried to call the International Office at university, but nobody picked up the phone. I didn’t dare to go to university without knowing if there would be anyone to welcome me, so I decided to look for a cheap hotel in Gaungzhou where I could spend the night. I had no internet connection and didn’t even know in which part of the city I was. Therefore I had to give my chinese skills a try in the “real world”. If you think that people heretry to speak more slowly and pronounce the words very clearly when they realize that you are not a native speaker, you are completely wrong! Fortunately I managed to understand at least some important keywords when it came to describing the way, so that after a while I found a place to spend the night!
The next morning I took a taxi to university and since I knew the exact adress of the International Office I was expecting the taxi driver to drop me off right in front of that building. But of course it did not happen like that ! The Guangzhou University is located in the “Higher Education Mega Center” in Guangzhou. You can not only find three big universities in that huge complex, but also several supermarkets, karaoke bars, restaurants and all kinds of shops. There is also the “old district” where you can find a market offering all different kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables. The taxi driver didn’t know the wayto the International Office very well, so he dropped me off somewhere “nearby” the office.
My friend Yin once told me that chinese people never say no because they always want to be polite. On that day i learned that this is absolutely not just a prejudice but the truth!Iasked several people for the way to the International Office and after crossing the same street for more than five times because people sent me in completely different directions, I started to notice that most of them had no clue where this Office actually was. The best way to find out wether they know what they are talking about or not, is to analyse their reaction after you have asked a question: Do they hesitate? Do they look to the left and to the right more than once? Better not trust in that description of the way !!
So what about me? Did I somehow find the way? Yes I did! After almost one hour running in circles with all my luggage and people starring at me like if I was the last unicorn, I finally made it to the Office and was showed my apartment. Mrs. Deng told me that the phone didn’t work but if I had send them an email they would have fetched me at least somewhere in the city, as they normally fetch all their students arriving at Guangzhou Airport. According to her I am the first student who made the way to university all by herself…