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The Goodish Samaritan

I told you my next entry would be positive...here is some chicken soup for the soul.

I was trying to find the Cinderella hotel. The number hostel world had given me was out of service-I'd tried it 3 times- and there just seemed no way I could find this place. As is the custom in China, different people were earnestly pointing in contrary directions or even telling me I was in Shi Fo Ying Dongli when I wasn't and I was covering rather a lot of real estate with a rucksack and laptop. Been on foot for over an hour, in fact, and getting to the point where I'd have to quit and find somewhere else, though I'd paid a deposit online.
Finally a guy outside a shop was obviously interested in helping. His whole attitude was immediately helpful, I knew I'd found a friend. I told him the hotel was 99 Shi Fo Ying and he said there was no such hotel he knew of. He handed me his phone to do a web search but I loaded the hotel's own website on my phone and got another number. The guy rang it on my phone and said the hotel in question wasn't far, but it wasn't at 99 Shi Fo Ying... He'd take me in his car. I asked how much and he waved '5' with his hand quickly.
Well 5 RMB is nothing- very generous on his part-this was a very helpful gentleman indeed. We drove 2 miles down the road.
“You happy happy in Beijing?” He asked.
“Yes....happy.” I said, unconvincingly.
It was when we were on the expressway that I realised something was awry. We couldn't possibly be going to a hotel that was just round the corner. I expressed my concern.
“You want the cinderella hotel, don't you?” He asked.
“Yes, but there are three in Beijing.”
Then he realised what misunderstanding had occurred and said sorry profusely and mock slapped his cheek a few times and I said not to worry it wasn't his fault and we shook hands.
“I good, I not bad,” he said.
Didn't I know it. My mind was simply full of gratitude to this man who was just trying to help me. Only yesterday Judy was telling me a story about how she was told by a Western friend how Chinese people (except Lynn and Judy) are always trying to get something from them. Even my good friend Laurence said this to me.
“Give us an apple and we'll take a tree,” he said.
But this man came out of the blue and rescued a foreigner in distress. He phoned the hotel again on my phone and found out where the hotel at 99 Shi Fo Ying was. It was at 99 Shi Fo Ying, which was almost next to where I'd met him. So then he drove me back almost to where I'd met him but to the spot where the hotel was, which was very helpful.
“You happy happy in Beijing?” He asked.
Then we arrived at the hotel Cinderella, hidden down an alley that had eluded me. And yeah, it was getting on for midnight.
Now, he'd done a round trip and he'd quoted me 5 RMB so I assumed he wanted 5 but that seemed absurd. I gave him 20.
“That's not enough. Give me forty,” he said.

Posted by safemouse 19:57 Archived in China

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