Picture an underground parking garage with lanes that run side to side in front of you. A single waiting line for those in need of transportation and at the front of it, a person, whose job it is to make sure you don’t get plowed over by the taxis as they race by. Across the garage stands a man whose job appears to be that of yelling at, well… Everybody. And he’s good at it. Protocol is clearly everything to him and those who breach it will suffer his wrath.
The whole scenario screams of Jerry Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi episode. Taxis race in from the left covering 2-3 lanes in mass. They stop, the Yelling Guy yells at the Safety person who yells at the Taxi person. Now you’re Up! Let’s go, two steps to the right, load your luggage, no questions, get in the car and the Taxi gets out fast because other taxis are racing in and the line you were in is growing longer.
Enter, George Costanza . I have questions, like how much, how long will it take and I need to let you know where we re going, right? No, no, NO! Somehow, I messed with the process and it had come to a screeching stop. Now the Yelling Guy is looking at ME and is on his way over which is NOT good. Our Luggage is everywhere. He yells at the taxi driver and at the glut of Taxi’s now clogging the road. He even has thoughts for the Safety lady for letting us leave the line. Apparently, my questions are to be asked and answered while blazing out of the garage. Unfortunately our driver had a bad case of “no habla” and my Chinese is confined to ordering a meal…and here we are.
The matter is quickly settled. Load their !@#! Now and get them the heck out of here. But, of course, we have a new problem. Lilly’s suitcase is huge! It could hold a 5’11, 165 lb body, quite nicely…hmmm, that’s about my size… That’s a thought that is going to fester…Anyways, the taxi driver fits it in the trunk, filling it up completely, and we’re tossing luggage in the back seat while piling in as we launch out towards the exit.
Now were on our way, I have no idea where. But we’re doing it at about 70 mph. Here’s where we need to go…She has no idea. I call the hotel and put them on speaker and they work it out. We do a 180 turn (the meter is just clicking away) and the GPS says 16 miles to destination. Then we hit traffic, but she has pluck and is dodging in and out like a pro, ultimately finding the right shoulder works the best. I just closed my eyes and thought of puppies and butterflies. Satisfied that all is well and right in the world, she starts singing then plays on Facebook and texts a few friends. I opened my GPS to see where we were and got the stinkeye for apparently checking up on her. Finally about an hour and twenty minutes later, she looks lost and we’re creeping down a street in the financial district. When the Marriott appeared, she looked as shocked as we did.
An hour and a half to go 16 miles at 9pm at night. Apparently this is normal. Welcome to Beijing.