Heisted in Shanghai

Liz, Leo and I made our return trip to Nanjing after the music tour, taking a fast train the last two hours of the way from Shanghai.  It was our first time taking a train together in China, and we were new to the whole process at Shanghai railway station.

People were offering to carry our bags for exorbitant fees, which we declined thinking we could get to our platform without extra help.  People who saw our tickets began telling us, "You’d better hurry," which we though was strange with over a half hour to go till departure.

As we wandered through the terminal towards our train, we discovered it was a rather long way to our platform.  We stepped it up a bit, but were being passed by other travelers who were running at a good pace to make their own connections.  As we neared our boarding area, we saw the same groups of frantic people making their way into our own gate.  Were we really that late?  We still had 15 minutes to go.

What we discovered was that there was still a long ways to go from the ticket agent all the way to the platform.  We huffed it a good five minutes with all our bags to finally reach the stairs down to our train (no elevator of course).  Someone sitting on the stairs saw us, grabbed two of our bags and motioned for us to quickly follow.  We assumed the train was leaving right away, so we followed him down the stairs and looked for our car.  We were in car 1, but were only standing at car 13!  We all jogged down the platform to the first car, making it with a few minutes to go.

The man wouldn’t pass our suitcases into the train until we paid him for his trouble.  Note to self- no service is ever for free here!  I passed him 10 yuan, but he demanded 20.  Without much leverage for bargaining, I conceded to the rather high fee and took a 20 bill from my wallet.  He promptly snatched it from my hand and took off running!  He got away with 30 altogether, and I couldn’t chase him since the train was about to leave.

Feeling rather grumpy, we consoled ourselves by admitting that at least he didn’t steal the suitcases, and we really did appreciate his help getting to the train.  Plus we tried to feel charitable about supplying him with enough money to buy at least a few days’ worth of groceries.  Next time we won’t be so green when traveling, though, and will leave plenty of time for navigating a new place.


2 Responses to “Heisted in Shanghai”

  1. 1 Drew and Paula August 6, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Hey! Liz amd JM! Your China adventure seems funbelievably (intended spelling) cool! And now with the Olympics coming on Friday 8/8/8 now all the tv networks here are doing live remotes and many stories on the Chinese people and places to see there. This is a trip of a lifetime and it reminds me alittle of the foreign 2 years I spent in Germany. Foreigners do have that extra pep in their step and sparkle in their eye that I think the locals pick up on and like! Congrats on the modeling jobs and see if you can make or get copies of the commercials you made to show us with your other pictures you have! It would be great to if you can elaborate (as much as you know/can) on the olmypics from your perspective. Stay safe and next time carry only what you can comfortably haul with you! That guy at the train station seemed to be a shady character. At least he gave you your bags thank God! Stay safe We love you Paula and Drew

  2. 2 Becca August 7, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    I’m going to print this one out and take it with me!

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