Eng: Dunhuang, Gansu, China
Written by Em
As you can see from our lack of posting, blogging from rural China using free VPNs is not quite as easy as we thought.
Quick note: I'm using the computer at the fancy China Telecom Hotel here in Tongren
The plan was to hop onto a 20 hour bus from Dunhuang to Xining, a jumping-off point for travelling into the Tibetan Plateau. Our journey started at 12:30 in the afternoon. We decided to get our clothes washed before heading into the rural northwest and planned to pick them up before heading to the bus. We checked and double checked with the woman at the laundry and she assured us it would be no problem to come get the clothes, washed and dried, b 10:00 the next morning. ou can imagine where this is going...
We woke up a bit late, as usual, not wanting to get out from under the covers. We casuall walked to the laudromat, arriving around 11:00, nearl an hour after the agreed upon pick-up time. A new woman is there who gathers our clothes, studies the receipt and then hands the bag over. Dan grabs it read to walk out and I stop to check. I've had horrible experiences with laudromats in China - I believe I've lost about 10 pairs of underwears. No joke.
Of course there are things missing. Of course all of the things missing are mine; two long-john shirts and a pair of Uniqlo, Japanese technolog, heat-tech long-john pants. At first the woman, let's call her Susie, tries to assure me that I never gave these over. Dan kindl helps to point out that all of the items, including colour, are listed on the receipt. Now she starts to make the phone calls.
We agree to send Dan, a bit crank due to lack of food, for breakfast and bus snacks, while I dealt with the matter at hand. About 10 minutes of phone calls ensue. I keep asking her where m clothes are and how long this is going to take. I'm even more pissed because none of our clothes are actually dry. Susie ensures me the are coming ver soon. About 15 minutes later a woman pulls up on a motorized bicycle and throws a bag inside the door and scoots off. I grab it and see the 2 tops are there, but am still missing me pants. I run onto the street, screaming at the top of me lungs (in Chinese) "HEY! STOP! WHERE ARE MY PANTS? WHERE ARE MY F*ING JAPANESE PANTS?!" The woman on the bike stops, turns around, glares at me and walks into the shop. Now SHE starts making calls, then tells Susie something an scoots off.
I begin pacing and lose it. I tell Susie to refund m mone, plus the cost of m fanc Japanese pants and I'll be on m wa. I've been waiting for 30 mintues now. Dan comes back, meatpie in hand, takes one look at me and says, "I'll go pack. Just come meet me b 12 at the latest." Susie is franticall making phone calls now as I mutter, "No problem. Refund m mone, the cost of me pants and now me bus ticket for the bus I'm about to miss because of this." Susie pleads with me that she's sorr and there's nothing she can do. I tell her I've been running a business for 2 ears now and I know there is something that can be done.
She tells me the clothes are more or less dry. I respond, "When ou go to a restaurant and tell the waiter our chicken isn't quite done, does he sa, ahh, its more or less cooked?" I ask her to wear me clothes and stand in the freezing cold and then tell me its ok the aren't quite dry.
40 minutes later, still nothing. After tring to talk with her boss on the phone, I tell Susie no problem, I don't have a job anmore. I make meself comfortable on a stool, take off me coat, hat and scarf, and tell her I'll be here from the second she opens until the minute she closes, warning all their potential customers how crap their service is. I figure if a sit-in worked for civil rights, it might work for laundr. Well, that and I'd take an excuse to get out of a 20 hour bus ride.
More phone calls. A woman walks in and I greet her telling her not to bring her clothes here. I explain me problems and then tell her, "sure if ou don't reall care about this coat, give it to them to be lost." Another man opens the door and slowl backs awa as I begin telling m tale.
I know, I shouldn't have dragged Buddha into it and I'm sure I will pay for this later, but at least the policeman laughed as I ran down the street, met Dan, hopped into a taxi, and just barely made our bus.