The English Teacher

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Whenever I travel I confirm, again and again, that communication is the master key for a successful trip. During the month I dedicate to travel alone through China, I realize how defiant was this huge and overpopulated country.

My level of chinese language was lower than zero and I made all I wanted for the (short) period of my journey. But, as you may imagine, I had some help!

In one occasion, I have to admit, I had a miraculous help. (Luck is also part of the adventure, right?) Well, it all started when I decided to visit Pingyao [enjoy the photo report here].

Situated in the Shanxi provence, this UNESCO World Heritage city is 700 kilometers southwest of Beijing. To arrive in Pingyao I took the overnight train from the chinese capital. I knew the train predictably would arrive there around 9am but I forgot to ask the exact time.

Inside of the carriage, I looked around to find some information… as I couldn´t find anything I thought that maybe the train officer could help me. I never found him. So, I tried to ask the other passengers.

Their english level was equivalent to my chinese! I laughed nervously.
– How could I have forgot to ask what time the train was arriving in Pingyao? -. I just knew the train would continue to the next stop…

To make things worse, everyone was ready to sleep! Contrary to my previous experiences in Germany, Finland or Ukraine, in chinese trains everyone fall asleep extremely fast.

Except one lady! Somehow from somewhere, a lady came and asked if I speak english. (If you´ve been in China, you will notice that everyone loves to communicate with foreigners, specially westerners).

I screamed ‘Yeaaaah!’ and I almost wake up everyone… – I´m an english teacher. – she introduced herself. This lady told me she was going back home after visiting her daughter in Beijing. We spoke more than hour:
about our countries; about travels; about life.

And then I asked her the obvious: do you know what time does this train arrives in Pingyao? She didn´t knew but she asked in chinese someone who was still awaked: 9:45am.

I looked for my mobile phone to set up the alarm clock. No battery! – #$@%{§… -. Again I felt stupid, it was like I was a travel debutant. I knew the arrival time but I didn´t knew how to wake up.

It is unnecessary to say I didn´t sleep that night consulting the carriage´s clock. But at least I came out in the right station. Welcome to Pingyao sleepy PedroL!

Over the last years I’ve managed and developed this blog as a meeting point to connect travelers and bloggers, writers and photographers, you and me. Feel free to support PedroL: you can do it by a simple 1dollar/euro donation or by purchasing one of my ebooks. It’s easy and the best way to help me to keep this project. Thank you!

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2 responses to “The English Teacher

  1. Très beau récit 🙂 J’aime ce hasard qui donne au voyageur la possibilité de parler avec une autochtone , cette expérience restera certainement dans la mémoire du professeur …en plus des nombreux souvenirs photographiques , humains ou culinaires .
    Merci pour ce billet très sympa ! Bonne journée

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