This is the story of how we tried to get back to Donying after our gruelling two days, or should I say after ascending and descending over 12,000 steps.
Once we arrived at the train station, there were numerous people who were willing to help us. They could all speak some English. We managed to find out that there was no train to Dongying until very late in the evening. Our only other option was a train to a city called Zibo, and then another train to Dongying.
The train station.
While we waited, we got a snack.
The lines in the station were ridiculous. People seemed to be pushing to the front, and I kept wondering why there was all of this shuffling when everyone SHOULD have an allocated seat!
Our carriage was pretty far down the track. We started sprinting to get there!!
Once on board the train, we realized that there were no seat numbers on our tickets!
We had STANDING TICKETS, and our legs were exhausted!
There were two random seats available.
Heather and I let the guys have seats (because there were too many men sitting there),
and we sat on the stairs.
As we reached different stations, various people left the train, and we played musical chairs for a while.
Justin and I, on the stairs.
Heather and Zach.
Arriving at Zibo Station.
Much to our disappointment, we were told that the next train to Donying left at about midnight. We would only get back to Dongying at about 4am!!!
We asked some people for help, and soon a crowd formed. The taxi drivers were on the prowl!!!
One of the drivers agreed to take us all the way to Dongying. It was apparently one hour away, by car, so he asked us for 300 yuan, we bargained him down to 200 yuan.
We felt apprehensive at first, but we just wanted to get home! He lead us to his car, and we settled in for the ride. He had given us the impression that he knew where he was taking us, so we trusted him to get us there. We started to get a little uneasy when he kept calling people, however we were sure that, at least, he would get us to the right city.
After about 20 minutes, he started signaling another car to pull over. Suddenly things got VERY SUSPICIOUS!! The taxi driver got out of the car, and walked over to the mysterious car. We had NO IDEA what was going on!!!
Who had this man been calling, and what was he organizing?!
We sat there, waiting for something to happen.
The driver came back to the taxi, and told us to get in the other car! He then told us that we have to pay him 100 yuan!!! We were shocked! The poor man that had been pulling over (who knows why he pulled over) seemed nervous, and he just wanted to get back on the road. We were annoyed with the taxi driver for doing that to us, because he had agreed to take us all the way to Dongying. We took our bags, and then told the taxi driver that we were only going to pay him 50 yuan because he had only taken us about a quarter of the way! He got very angry, and he threw the money down!!
We started to feel bad for the innocent man – who was heading home to his family – because he was pulled over, in the dark, and made to take four foreigners home, in his private car!! The taxi driver was a complete jerk, and he never should have agreed to take us home! We felt bad for the innocent man, so we paid the taxi driver 100 yuan, and he left!!!!
I have been traveling for quite a while, and I know that some people will do anything to take advantage of foreigners. There are many people that walk directly into these situations, however I am not one of those people. We are not naive, however this man had definitely planned to do this. He had no intention of taking us all the way to Dongying!
This is definitely the hardest part of living in a country where we don’t understand anyone, and unfortunately, these situations will occur from time to time! Oh well, it could have been way worse!
At least we were safe!! 🙂
Matthew (the second driver) drove us all home, and we paid him 100 yuan.
We chatted to him the whole way, and he told us about his life, and his family. The drive home was much longer than we thought it would be (about two hours), and we certainly appreciate Matthew’s kindness!!
Even though the weekend ended off in a strange manner, we still had a great weekend!!
By the way:
The four of us could barely make it down any stairs for about 3 days after the weekend. Going up did hurt, but going down was RIDICULOUS!!!
It was worth it…
Absolutely Worth It!!