English Version 54
In the train near Beijing
The Chinese in the train have been surprisingly quiet. The light was turned off at 22.30 and everyone went to sleep that wasn`t sleeping heavily already. I slept alright myself, but I`m used to the earth moving under me. Now when it`s 6.05 we`re still on our way. The city before wasn`t Beijing as I thought. Now in the morning no one speaks loudly. They`re not whispering either and they started at 5.30 but it`s still a bit surprising.
I`m getting closer to where I started - the circle is completed - not all is done according to my plan, but for that you have to be prepared when you`re travelling the way I do.
If I should make a conclusion there`s not much that could have been different. Disasters you can`t count for expect to stay at home. I haven`t heard of serious aftershocks but when the road to Maoxian from south will be opened no one knows? Or are the days getting more normal for my friends in Maoxian? I doubt it. The school has to be secured before any teaching can take place.
My plan for my things in Maoxian is to make the school send them to a transport company in Chengdu - I don`t remember the name it`s a worldwide company. From there the consulate should be able to ship it to Denmark. And maybe I can pay the schools expenses directly or through the consulate. The first will be to make a contact with Xia Wei when his internet is ready again.
I look a bit in one of my phrase books and to my surprise a picture of a train ticket is shown and everything ios explained. You have to be there about an hour before, the train stations are often chaotic. I was there an hour before and I found out everything by myself. I`m beginning to get China "under my skin".
Another city rolls by, it looks bigger than the others maybe we`re closing in? No, back in the countryside.
I hear them speaking of Wenchuan in the radio and want to understand just a little - but no.
At last 8.26 we arrive at Beijing West. I`m in a taxi now. I don`t have an address I just know where it is. Far East Youth Hostel doesn`t ring any bells for the taxi driver but I`m prepared. Tian An Men he must know. All at once we`re there and before I find an orientation he`s in a lane where he can`t turn right, so we take a sightseeing tour around Tian An Men Square. I make him turn left at the right spot. No he doesn`t turn left because he`s not allowed to, but he turns right where he`s not allowed to make a u-turn but after being out of sight for the policemen at the crossing he makes the u-turn. I get off at the right spot, but take the wrong street down the hutong. I think it`s because they`ve built SO much since I was here last. It doesn`t look the same.
Who pays for all this reconstruction, I later ask the guy in the office. After he has discussed it with another he claims it`s the Government.
I get a bed in a 4-bed dormitory. Last time I was by myself at first, this time I`m the last.
I have trouble getting in contact with my PDA. It was the same last time I was here. When I`m up the street to find net cafes I meet an extraordinary elderly Chinese who helps me. His English is hard to understand. He`s 68 and has been in London as an interpreter for the Chinese government when he was 24. He knows a very famous Danish company: Brüel and Kjœr. (They are not that well known in Denmark but I happen to know someone working there). He`s actually met one of them in Beijing. When was that? During the cultural revolution! He knows of course H.C.Andersen and The little Mermaid, Copenhagen etc. His hobby is geography. After we nearly said goodbye a couple of times we continue a conversation about history, kingdoms and that sort of things. I meet the most extraordinary people.
But I`ve still no contact to the PDA. Now I`ve been to 5 different places so I HAVE to find out how I solved the problem the last time I was here. I also had trouble then I remember. Maybe the diary can help?
At the hostel I talk to an English girl who has studied Chinese and lived for half a year in Kunming. She`s dropped her job in Bruxelles for the European society to work freelance here but it gives trouble with the visa, so she`ll probably go back.
When I return after having found a place to eat I suddenly hear Danish spoken. It`s two young girls and an elderly man. It`s the first Danes I`ve met a place I stayed. When I say elderly I mean older than me. He saw an offer he couldn`t resist as he put it. He`s living across the street with the "high society" but has found us here in the courtyard. I asked for the price for a single room there? More than 200. It`s not for my budget but still it`s cheap compared to Danish prices. Against my habits I buy another beer and as usual I talk too much. I`m overloaded with China, even I`ve only scratched a bit in the surface. How would it be to live here?