Wait.. what?

After a day of classes, I headed to Wudaokou with all the intentions of enjoying a quiet cafe for the evening in order to get some work done. Though I did indeed accomplish this, it was only IN the cafe that I had a “normal” time. The trip there and back, however.. not so much. It began with the wait for the 731 bus at its’ stop outside the Northeast gate. There was a rather large group of us waiting, and I was approached by a very small, perhaps 40 year old, Chinese woman. No “hello” or “excuse me;” actually, there was nothing pleasant about her approaching me whatsoever. She spoke quickly and harshly to me and as she spoke she glanced at my bag, which happened to be Vera Bradley– obviously a popular brand in America, though I’m unaware of the brand’s status in China. it was my understanding the lady wanted to know where I got my bag and how much I paid for it. I responded that I was from America and had bought it there.. I struggled to not only recall what I paid for the bag in the US over what was a year ago, but also quickly try to convert that Us dollar price to kuai. I told the lady “sanbai wushi kuai.” She looked disgusted and stepped back a couple steps.. staring out onto Huqing Lu and tapping her foot with a look of inexplicable anger on her face.

Well.. this is awkward. The bus now seemed to be taking forever. I ran through the situation in my head..why was she so angry? Though I thought the whole incident was complete rudeness on her part, the other chinese people standing around seemed to take zero notice of the exchange between myself and the little chinese lady. It was then I began to feel guilty. 350 kuai here was a lot of money.. 350 kuai was also an underestimate for what I actually paid for the bag by about 20$ US dollars. Needless to say, I felt the lady had either disliked me or at least definitely disliked my answer to her question. I avoided her the rest of the way to Wudaokou.

The return incident: 731 was loaded up and closing its’ doors. All of a sudden, two teenage boys changed their minds about remaining on the bus and began yelling at the driver to open the doors. The exchange was too fast and full of angst for me to fully understand it, but it was obvious that both the boys wanted off the bus and the driver was unwilling to reopen the doors. The boys proceeded to push one of the bus windows as far open as it would go and then slid their bookbags off their backs. It occurred to me then they were actually going to JUmp out the window… WHILE the bus was moving. The boys moved very quickly, knowing that the more time they spent on the bus, the faster it would go and the less smoothly they could execute their jump off.  I looked around and was almost reassured to see that the other chinese passengers were surprised too.  That said, their looks seemed to be more of an entertained expression whereas I was thoroughly shocked. The first guy made it safely out the window and the second tossed him both bookbags (aIMG_4482ll while the bus is moving away) he then proceeded with his own emergency jumpoff. I was standing at this point, looking down and out of the bus to see of they both had made it safely as the bus pulled off. They had, and they seemed thoroughly pleased with themselves and jogged off into the crowd.