Henry wrote the address of my hotel in Chinese script, so I could get a taxi. Meanwhile, WN, my guide booked online, had written emphatically NOT to trust the taxi drivers. I should put my luggage in the back seat of the taxi, and not pay til I had removed my luggage and the driver had printed a receipt. I should also get the price before hand, so he would not charge too much at the end. Harbin, according to WN, is a den of iniquity. Taxi drivers will drive off, stealing luggage before you can get to the trunk to remove it.
At the Harbin train station, Henry’s mother offered to help me get a cab. So we, with her three year old in tow, headed to the taxi gate. HA! A line to put all lines to shame. An extremely lovely woman, she stayed with me for a bit, and scoffed at WN’s concern about the cab driving off with my luggage. ” Who would want what is in your bag, anyway,” she queried, looking at my size. As she had Rory, with her, it seemed insane to ask her to wait with me, so, with many thanks for her help, she soon dissappeared into the nebula of Harbinites returning hone to celebrate New Years.
After at hour or so, I finally found my self at the head of the line, ready to do the cabdash. I slung open the backseat door, and threw my stuff in, and jumped in the front seat. This unlucky driver ridiculed me to waiting passengrs. But, hey, I couldn’t understand! The driver was basically furious with me for putting my luggage in the back seat. He could not pick up addition passengers, thereby losing money. I found this out because I called WN, so he could talk to the driver. No matter, we got to the hotel, and check in was a breeze.
The Ibis hotel is, I think, a Danish outfit. Small, but well thought out. Still…the hard beds of China, and I was very grateful for my blow-up mattress. The staff were very helpful. Enough English was spoken, and, coupled with pantomime, we communicated quite adequately. I would recommend for the budget minded.