You all know I couldn't find my way out of an empty room. Because I get lost, and because my Chinese skills are not always reliable, I usually pray that the God will give me someone to help me when I travel alone. Here’s a quick story about my helper on the way back to the U.S.
I was on the speed train from Qufu to Beijing, where I would catch a flight to Chicago the next morning. A girl got on at Tai An and sat next to me, and we soon struck up a conversation. She turned out to be a flight attendant with China Southern. She asked me where I was staying in Beijing and I showed her the name of the hotel (a budget place close to the airport). “Oh,” she said, “I am staying in that same neighborhood. But I’ve never heard of that hotel.” So she called a friend to figure out where it was and then suggested we share a cab when we got off the train.
I was armed only with the name of the hotel and some brief directions that the hotel had texted me in Chinese. I hoped to show these to the cab driver and get there with no problem. However, the cabbie didn’t know where to go. So my new friend called the hotel three times over the next 45 minutes and eventually got us there. There’s no way my Chinese language skills could have accomplished that! Then she walked me into the lobby and made sure all my arrangements were settled for getting to the airport the next morning.
I was most touched to realize that her own accommodations were not actually that close to my hotel. After riding with me and helping me, she then had to call a friend to pick her up at my hotel.