We have discovered that many Chinese people cannot read maps, and get lost frequently. Again we have been lost - but it was not our doing this time.
The foreign teachers who have renewed their contracts for 2009 are required to have a medical examination and it must be done in the special centre in Hangzou. So it was organised for a bus to take the foreign teachers on Boxing Day - December 26th. Two of us, who did not need to have a medical - were offered a trip to Hangzhou anyway. And so it was that I was one of the passengers of the bus.
Everyone who has done the trip witht the college bus reports the same. Despite the fact that several trips a year are made to this place, the bus driver can never find the way there. We thought it might be OK this time, but when we discovered we were heading back out of the city, before we had found the medical centre, it was obvious that the driver was indeed lost again!
So the bus stopped - awkwardly on an intersection I might add - and our 'guide' jumped into a taxi to guide the bus to its destination. But it was peak hour traffic in Hangzhou and for a while we "lost" the taxi!
Thank goodness for mobile phones!
We soon "found" the taxi, and followed closely, but the taxi got lost too! And we foreigners (English speakers who can read Chinese signs a little - and obviously better than our Chinese driver) - were further amazed when we missed the turn off - again!
So eventually the taxi, followed by the bus, stopped some distance from the medical centre and the folk had to walk!
We certainly saw the funny side of the whole episode, especially as one of the men was really keen to pee, and he was almost distraught by the time the bus eventually stopped. One of the other passengers who suffers from motion sickness was also in a mess as the constant stopping, turning and backtracking did not help her condition.
Not once can anyone remember getting to the Medical Centre without being lost! And it was our Chinese "guides" sent to help us as we might not find our way on our own - that were almost most confused.
Just another funny story to tell about our adventures in China.