Ok so I don’t hate China but man did this place screw me big time the first day I landed here.
The plan was to fly into Beijing early in the morning, get to my hotel, settle in and then hit the Forbidden city in the afternoon. Well, some Chinese people just didn’t want that to happen without raping my hip pocket and upsetting my day.
I landed a bit before lunch and because I was travelling solo and was in a rush to get to my hostel I decided on taking a taxi. Bad decision.
As soon as I got in I told him “meter please” and he showed it to me so I thought all was good and I couldn’t possibly get ripped off. Oh you silly boy Adrian.
We arrived and he told me the price was 480 yuan. “Uh excuse me?” I already knew from the hostels site that the price should only be around 150 yuan, and as the language barrier was pretty bad I let fly a few expletives, handed him the money and got out, slamming the door in frustration.
Getting ripped off once in a day is bad enough but for it to happen again only a few hours later but in a much worse way, really sucks.
I had my lunch, got my map and directions from the receptionist and headed off with only a few hours to go before the Forbidden city shut for the day.
I was almost there (I realised later) but just wasn’t sure if I was in the right area when a rickshaw rider (bicycle taxi) decided to make me his prey for the day. Just writing this makes me angry !
I accepted his offer of only 2 yuan to get me there and we headed off down some alleys, through some streets and then he just decided to do a U-turn. My gut was telling me that something was up but I decided to stay on and he pulled up and then some other guy got in and drove.
Only two minutes later, he pulled into a dark, dirty alley, jumped out and told me to give him 300 yuan.
“Ha !, get real !” I said.
We started arguing for a minute then I heard footsteps behind me and two other guys came out of nowhere and surrounded me.
‘Oh I see what’s about to go down’, I thought. Before I could think the driver took a step toward me and punched me in the stomach.
I was completely surprised and taken off guard. I realised that my life was worth saving, so I peeled off the cash, threw it at him and got out of there quick smart.
I was fuming. There was no way I wanted to give them that money but with three of them, one of me and who knows what under their jackets I didn’t want to risk it. I would have loved to have landed a punch in his face though, oh how I would have loved to…
So, so far a great day in Beijing, I never did get the chance to see the Forbidden city.
It’s not just these two unfortunate incidences either, why does everyone in China feel the need to spit everywhere ? It’s disgusting, I even saw a few guys doing it inside a shopping centre ! Not to mention they have to actually cough it up so everyone knows they’re about to spit.
Even some of the women do it.
And how about the mothers holding their babies in an alley to do their business in the street ? The kids clothes in China are designed with a flap on the rear so they can just go anywhere they want without having to take their gear off !
The language barrier, the dirty streets, the stares you get everywhere, I could go on but the funny thing is some of the best times I’ve had on this trip have been in China.
I got to go see the Great Wall which I’ve wanted to see since I was a kid, the Terracotta warriors and my most favourite of all; walking the most dangerous hike in the world, Mount Huashan in Xian.
So to say that I had a bad time is true but I also had some of the best experiences of my life.
Fast forward 2 months and I’m now in Singapore getting ready to fly to Borneo to go climb Mount Kinabalu, the fifth highest mountain in South East Asia.
Maybe this time I’ll hitch hike and forget about the taxi drivers.
This is a guest post by Adrian Landsberg who started The Lifestyle Compound for his love of entrepreneurship and travel. In October 2103 he quit his job of ten years to chase his dream of going on a multi-country, bucket list smashing mission. Recently he has bungee jumped, walked the most dangerous hike in the world and trekked to Mount Everest Base camp. Adrian enjoys writing about building passive income, travelling and living life against the grain of society