(Bejing) Not prepared

Blog Date 06-05-2013

After the day at the forbidden city I had to take care of a few things. I needed to get some tickets to get to the great wall and tickets out of Bejing to Ulaanbaatar (Capital of Mongolia) or to a town near the border called Erlian.
So I googled around for a bit and found some small travel agencies  near my little hotel. After some breakfast I went looking for them but were both closed and the looked kind of abandoned so I thought right away this wasn’t going to easy but came up with idea to find a big fancy hotel since they always have little booking agencies within those hotels.

So next thing was trying to get a taxi to one of the big hotels. Stopped a few of them but they all had insane high tourist prices to get me to one of the big hotels and as you might’ve noticed in the previous blogs, I hate being overcharged… After getting into an argument with a taxi driver (get used to this when you are travelling on a tight budget) I decided to just go into a Mcdonalds and eat away my frustration  with a delicious burger 🙂

So let’s give it another try getting a taxi without getting a stupid price. I wanted to let a taxi take me to the Novotel. Some other Dutch people I’ve met at the forbidden city were staying there and said they booked a nice little trip to the great wall so that’s why I wanted to go there and book the same trip.
After a while I finally managed to get a taxi with a normal taxi rate that would take me to the Novotel. It was already pretty late when I arrived at that hotel (around 2ish) but I got my little trip booked to the great wall 🙂 The trip to the great wall was a bit more expensive then I expected it to be and I didn’t have enough cash on me to pay for it. My card wasn’t working on the machine in the hotel but no worries. The nice lady at the hotel said there were a few ATM’s across the hotel. So crossed the really busy street risking my own life in between all the traffic to get to the ATM’s. All 3 different ATM’s didn’t accept my card!! So started to panic a little bit that something happened and my bank account got plundered or something!!
Walked back to the nice lady at the hotel and asked if I could use the hotel WIFI to log into my bank account to see if there was anything wrong with it. Nothing seems wrong so that a big relief. It’s just the f*cking atms not giving me any money… So the only option now was going back to my own cute little hotel and get my creditcard so I can pay for the trip. And here comes the frustration again…. Tried to get a taxi for a normal rate to take me back again wasn’t going to happen and after 15 minutes of trying I decided to just do a few km walk through the city. After a few km I saw the Bank of China. Just wanted to give it another try to get money with my card and YEEEEEAAAAH it somehow worked!! To bad I was almost back at my own little hotel but a taxi driver stopped to let some people out and he wanted to bring me to the Novotel with the taxi meter on. I was so happy that I didn’t have to walk all the way back again 🙂 And yes luck was on my side. The lady at the hotel did hold a spot for me so I could take the trip to the Great Wall tomorrow 🙂

I still wasn’t done since I still had to get ticket to leave Bejing. The lady at the hotel made a note for me in Chinese where I had to go so I could give that to a taxi where I should go to get the right tickets. After leaving the hotel I saw a bike taxi. Arranged a fair price and he would drop me of. When I was almost at the train station he stopped and said I had to pay him 300 yuan (which is about 40 euro instead of the 30 yuan we talked about) The guy was going insane when I laughed at him and said that wasn’t the deal and I wasn’t even at the trainstation yet. I just threw the 30 yuan on the ground and walked away. Guess he didn’t want to drop me of at the train station since there was police there.

Arrived at the train station but no clue where I had to go. Man I thought it was busy at Amsterdam Central station but this is something else. Like there are about  a million people trying to get onto trains!!! After walking and asking around for a bit a woman was pointing at her blue shirt and pointed to a big board. It was just a big blue board with departure times so that wasn’t really helping…  But walked there anyway and finally saw a sign in English that said ‘tickets’ with an arrow on it. Wihooooo. That joy didn’t last that long since there were so many booths and the lines soooo long….
Next problem was which booth to pick since I needed to speak to someone who actually speaks or understands English. I just picked a line with a younger man working at the booth (hopefully he was still in school and learned some English). When it was my turn and started speaking English he pointed a different booth.
Perfect, this man spoke really good English but sadly he didn’t have tickets to Ulaanbaatar anymore. So I asked if he had a ticket to Erlian so at least I can get to the border and I’ll see how it goes from there. And yes he had a ticket but only a luxury ticket but that was no problem for me since it was still really cheap. So now I got all my stuff sorted I can go back to my little hotel and chill out 🙂
There were so many people waiting for taxi’s at the train station I decided to walk but since the sun was going down I actually decided to get a taxi. After 10 or 15 minutes of trying a taxi driver stopped. He just had no clue where my hotel was and where I wanted to go. Luckily I had a little card of the Temple of Heaven in my wallet and that was about a 10 minute walk away from my hotel. He knew where that was and turned on his taxi meter.
It was such a good feeling having everything arranged for the next couple of days, sitting in the back of the taxi and just enjoying everything around me that there was to see while the sun was setting. That was the feeling I was looking for when I decided to start travelling. Guess the taxi driver never had a tourist in his taxi and was proudly pointing out awesome things to look at when he was making his way to the Temple of Heaven.
After he dropped me of I gave the taxi driver a good tip. Felt like he wanted to thank me 1000 times 🙂

Walking back to my hotel I realised it was a really cool typical day of travelling on a budget although it can be so frustrating every now and then.
After a long shower I joined in at a bbq at a local restaurant. Had some really delicious food and enjoyed an ice cold beer after a succesful day.


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