A Night in China

Amanda and I spent 15 hours in Wuhan, the biggest city in central China. It was an interesting experience :) This is what happened, it’s a bit long but it was quite a night:

  • We arrived and made it through customs at midnight with a 24 hour transit visa
  • The only way to get to the city center an hour away at night was via taxi
  • Basically no one speaks English to help us find an ATM
  • Once we find an ATM it won’t read any of our cards and the money exchange centers are closed
  • We try to get a taxi to take us to a different ATM and to our hostel in the city center
  • They can’t read English characters which is how we have the address and name of our hostel written
  • We find a nice Chinese friend who used to live in America, she can’t translate the address into Chinese characters and doesn’t know where it is
  • We realize the free wifi works but just all Google websites and apps are blocked in China
  • We find our hostel on a map!
  • We find a different ATM at the other terminal! One of them eats my ATM card, but we get money with Amanda’s
  • We get a taxi, a gruff old Chinese man who knows zero English
  • I talk him down from 200 to 100 yuan, he’s not happy about it
  • We drive around for over an hour talking/yelling with the taxi driver and pointing at maps a lot without much success
  • We find our street! It’s dark with no businesses and lots of abandoned looking (but still lived in) apartment buildings, certainly no signs of a hostel.
  • So we have him drop us off at a Holiday Inn nearby we drove past
  • The driver demands more money, we give him the 100 yuan and hurry into the Holiday Inn as he yells at us
  • Thankfully there is a very nice receptionist who tells us they have rooms and also gives us directions to the hostel we have booked, he says we’re close!
  • We look for the hostel for 30 minutes with no success so we walk back to the Holiday Inn and get a room
  • We get to our room at 4am and pass out in the most comfortable bed we’ve stayed in in months
  • Then, we woke up, took some photos from our nice room view and jumped in a taxi to the airport which took about 90 minutes through traffic, showing us a glimpse into a bunch of the city

It was an adventure! We’re glad we did it but it could have worked out a little smoother. In general, the Chinese people were very friendly but the language barrier is intense. To a lot of people it seems like the English characters look just as foreign as Chinese characters look to us.