A Weekend to Forget

Went to up to Beijing with a friend who spends most weekends there so I could finally get to see and photograph the Great Walls of China.  I also need another pair of trousers as my used Dockers sprung a hole in sector 12.  Nothing worked.  Friends pawned me off on a total stranger who lead me to a strange sort of gallery where before I knew it I was several hundred dollars poorer :(
The stranger (Jackie) at least showed me how to get back to the South Beijing Railway Station to catch a train home.
Got in line and got my ticket still feeling uneasy about my stupid gullibility at that "art show" - how could I be so stupid!!  Anyway got my ticket and boarded a train and after a while began to notice it was taking a lot longer to get to Tanggu than usual.  Come to think of it, my train ticket was more than the 65 yuan or so as well.  Finally, confirmed that I was on the wrong train!!!.  Got off at a station and had to wait till 7pm (bout an hour) and catch a train back to Beijing getting off at Tianjin West Stn.  To add insult to insult they charge me over 141 yuan - but you see the mistake was not mine - the idiot (who I carefully and clearly spoke to) at the stn who sold me the ticket made the mistake - but I ended up paying anyway.  I got off at Tianjin West, just like it says on the ticket, however, this was the wrong stop, I was suppose to get off at the next station.  Thanks for telling me guys - the train staff who knew my situation made no gesture or motion to tell me to stay, the ticket read Tianjin West and that was the station I got off at.
Ended up taking a taxi, however, the fare was 600 yuan - I did not realise how far from home I was - at least 2.5 hours.  We drove through some pretty dark rural back roads and believe me the thought of mischief had crossed my mind, but the driver and his friend turned out to be okay despite the fact that I think they overcharged me!  Anyway they got me far enough to transfer to a local cab and then it was home ... around 12 midnite! Remember I left Beijing at 15:00hrs.
It was a very expensive weekend, I haven't slept much and have not eatten until this evening.  I had dinner with a wonderful amazing student councilor from our school who helped me beyond the call of duty with translation via the phone whilst I was in the lion's den - it is the least I can do for her - the one highlight of my weekend.
After dinner, she had to go back to school and since I still needed another pair of trousers, just found a shop I had used before and bought what seem to be ... what I hope will be comfortable to wear to work tomorrow.
I tell ya, if you don't know the language, you better have good friends you can ask for help.
On a different note processed a few rolls of film I managed to squeeze off Saturday morning (trouble started in the afternoon when I met the stranger who said he was an art student) and they turned out alright, except for one roll with a x-ray band across the top - nevertheless, since it is medium format (Mamiya 645 AF), lots of usable negative.  Every time you take a subway they have that stupid machine, so I had to show them my film to avoid the machine ... save for the film in the camera.  Who knows ... maybe there is a significant picture in the set.


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