So it is now 2.01 and we’re on a slow moving bus. The driver is rather upset about all the messing about trying to find us in the airport (we were where we were supposed to be – she had gone to the wrong terminal). In fact she was so upset she seemed to have forgotten how to drive the bus.
This became more apparent as we hit the highway leaving the airport. “Which way?” “You’re the driver, you have the address!” Losing your way around Shanghai is one thing – losing your way around a gearbox is more worrying. Despite the lateness of the hour, everyone became alert…what’s happening? Why can’t the driver get out of third gear? The bus was fairly new and the engine sounded good.
Some overnight roadworks took us off the highway and down the helter-skelter onto the road below. Alton Towers has nothing on that experience, even though it was slo-mo. Onto a new road…”which way should I go now?” “Once again, I repeat, you are the driver, I don’t live here”. After slowing down to a crawl on the highway with traffic whizzing past enough was enough and the Art of War came to my rescue. “Ah, I see we are lost, please take the next turn off over there,….drive carefully into that petrol station……just here, pull in, there’s a space. Thank you.” Bus grinds to a halt. Everyone just stay there whilst we go and see if there is a policeman in that car. Hmmm, nope (on a break according to the pump attendants). Ok, oh look a taxi filling up, let’s ask him to call for reinforcements. Right “Everyone off the bus, grab your luggage, let’s go”. To the protestations of the driver, “where are you going? I know the way!” “But you don’t know how to drive a bus!” Taxi driver – how many of you? 23 plus luggage. Erm….ok he makes some calls and we bargain the price.
At last, Phew! In taxis, all safe and sound, on way to hotel. Our problems for the night are over!! Or so we thought,
Still in the small hours, arrive at hotel. Everyone out, pay off taxis, go to Reception. No, no you are not staying here but in another hotel with almost the same name in almost the same street. Aargh. Heft the luggage down the road and into correct hotel. So standing in Reception at correct hotel trying to sort out rooms. “You have four rooms”. You must be kidding – there are 23 of us (and some are maths graduates). “Ah yes, but each room has two double beds”. You are still (not so politely) kidding..I will let everyone fill you in on what happened next when they get back.