This better not be a harbinger
Trip Start Sep 04, 2007
19Trip End Nov 20, 2007
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- Fill out three forms on the plane and two more forms in the airport, and give four of them away in four different places. (I still have one form. I hope no one finds out.)
- Give up my cart twice because officious women standing at arbitrary locations insisted on collecting carts for no apparent reason. (I shouldn't need a cart, but I'm hauling around a bunch of stuff for the hiking and camping part of the trip to Shipton's Arch plus travel guides for two countries, three cities, and the Silk Road plus two books on China by Peter Hessler plus a couple of fat novels that I expect to get to during long train trips. Much of it, including all of the books except David Copperfield, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel, and a couple of travel guides, is going back to Seattle when I return to Beijing after the tour.)
- Give up my cart a third time because I had to go up a flight of stairs and couldn't find an elevator.
- Have my bags nuked twice.
- Repeatedly guess at where I was supposed to go because signage was almost non-existent and customer service was a complete unknown.
Thankfully, I had plenty of time to make my connection to Ulaan Baator, and the absurdity of it all gave me several good laughs, but if this is any indication of what is in store for me during my stay in mainland China, the laughs will become, I predict, a bit more hysterical with each new episode of institutional silliness.
By the way, I can read email in my cascade.org account right now but I can't reply, so if you pinged me and haven't heard anything back, please be patient. I'm guessing that the connection is so slow (yes, slower than my dialup connection at home) that it times out before the reply form displays. Here's hoping that the connection will be faster in Beijing than it is in Ulaan Baator. (The problem I had last night with even seeing email turned out to be a problem with an Internet Explorer security setting. All better now.)
To answer a question that I got in email, I can see comments that you post to the blog, so knock yourselves out. :-)