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Posts Tagged ‘unseasoned travellers’

Travel Anecdote in China Part 1

Posted by ckwok2013 on 24 August 2013

Taxi Mafia in Xian"Hey, that was my stop back there!"

After spending 2 days in Xian, on my way back to the airport, I had figured out that I could take the airport shuttle bus which stopped outside the Melody Hotel downtown, opposite the stunning DrumTower for 27 Yuan. With a flight at 11:30 AM, I had allowed myself plenty of time to get to the airport, only an hour’s ride from town centre. So arriving at the bus stand at 07:30 that morning, I was about to get in line in the queue of passengers waiting to board the next bus leaving for the airport.

I was stopped by a woman and a man who asked me what time my plane was. I told them and the woman wrung her hands in desperation as she informed me that the shuttle bus would never get me there on time, that it took the better of 2 hours at the very least to arrive at the airport and that traffic was very bad THAT morning. I was stunned as I was sure I had allowed plenty of time, from having talked to the staff at my hotel earlier.

The woman then signaled to a plain vehicle standing nearby, suggesting that I HAD better take a cab instead for 50 Yuan, sharing with 3 others. Thoroughly confused and bewildered at this turn of events, I didn’t think to walk back up to the people handling the shuttlebus passengers to get their version of things. I just stood by the roadside, forlorn and dismayed, at the thought of having to take a cab which was not only more expensive but less interesting for me than to be with a bunch of passengers in a big bus.

After much hesitation and reflection, I decided it was best to take the woman’s advice and headed over to the unlicensed cab which was waiting with 2 other Chinese passengers who had also been fed the same story as me, that they wouldn’t arrive at the airport in time for their flights. I found it quite difficult to believe that the 2 chinese locals were not more discriminating or skeptical about the story we had been fed. We were being scammed, I was sure of it but what could I reasonably do about it?

As it finally turned out, we got to the airport in just under an hour, which meant I had a 2-hour wait before my domestic flight back to Shanghai. I have posted my experience on the internet to warn unsuspecting travellers for the future. 

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