My new, most important rule of travel:
Always expect the unexpected.
It was a long journey, but I finally made it here! Unfortunately things didn’t run as smoothly as I had hoped. My plane leaving the United States sat on the runway an extra three and a half hours after our scheduled departure time, due to wide variety of problems. More than a hundred passengers, including myself, missed their connecting flights leaving Tokyo on Thursday. Unfortunately there were no flights going to Beijing later that night so I had to stay at a Japanese hotel. I made it back to Narita Airport and boarded my plane without a hitch and made it to Beijing. That was the easy part of my trip. Since, I had made it a day later than expected, my program had already started and there was no one to meet me at the airport in Beijing. Once I located my luggage, I had to find the departing buses to Tianjin, my final destination. It was a very strange experience being one of two females on the bus and of course, the only foreigner. To say it was awkward would be an understatement. The bus trip was about three hours long, but I was too nervous to close my eyes. The rules of the road are much different in China; they seem to not exist. We were very close to getting into a handful of accidents, but our driver definitely made good use of his horn. I made it to Tianjin safe and sound, but sadly, my trip wasn’t over yet; I still had to take a taxi to the university. When I stepped off the bus, three men rushed up to me, not speaking English, offering their taxis. In hindsight, I think I picked the wrong driver. He didn’t recognize the address I had showed him and spent five minutes arguing with the other drivers about the location of my destination. Eventually we were on our way and I tried to befriend the driver along the way in hopes that he would charge me the correct price. Though we did have a nice conversation, he still charged me triple what the cab meter said and wouldn’t agree with me after we argued. After getting about 12 hours of sleep in the past three days I was exhausted, but relieved to finally be here so I gave up very easily. I’m glad to say things have gone much better since I’ve arrived.