Monday, September 24, 2012


I remember a rainy night a year ago. I boarded a coach at 8.30pm at Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, China. I was on my way to Hangzhou so I could take the Air Asia flight back to Malaysia the next day at noon.

I was so tired in the coach that I laid my head back to try to sleep. I couldn't as the driver was driving like he was attempting to beat the speed of light.

 Not only was he speeding recklessly, he was also honking at every vehicle that was in his way. I felt I was in a roller coaster either at Universal Studios, Hollywood or  Six Flags, San Diego.

 I looked out of the window just beside me. The rain was pouring down so heavily. I just prayed that the coach wouldn't skid in such speed. The highway was dark and so was the night.

 In the coach, a movie was starting to play.  Despite it being the legendary Bruce Lee in 'Enter The Dragon'. I was too worried about the way the driver was driving to actually concentrate on that movie.

 The coach was packed. Though my ticket had a seat number, it seemed useless as everyone was sitting as they liked on a first board first serve basis. So understandably, many arguments ensued among the passengers, being mainly of chinese nationals. As soon as Bruce Lee appeared on the telly screen with his lightning fists and kicks, everyone shut up and watched the action. I said to myself  "Hooray! Bruce Lee has stopped the commotion!".

I  glimpsed at my watch. It was 9.18. The journey from Shanghai to Hangzhou would take a little more than 3 hours. Though I was dead tired then, I still couldn't resort to sleeping as another worry came into my mind.

 I knew I would be arriving in Hangzhou at about midnight, but would the bus's last stop be in the vicinity of the city, where hotels would be located within walking distance from it, or some remote place along some deserted highway.

  Hangzhou was a place new to me and  I prayed I didn't have to carry my bags and walk around looking for lodging, at that hour of  the night in the rain. One could imagine how broad the roads are in China. I remember the road right in front of Tien An Men in Beijing. It has 10 lanes going in one direction and 10 in the other.

Also, not to mention the coldness too, it was actually 14 degrees C inside the coach, outside it might be around 9C or colder, I guessed.

Somehow or rather, I slept. I was surprised I slept all the way regardless of that action packed Enter The Dragon and the reckless coach driver. Fast as he was, we arrived safely. That was what mattered.

They say 'every cloud has a silver lining'. How true, when I woke up, the bus had reached its destination.

 It was twenty minutes past midnight, everyone on board had reached Hangzhou and it was still raining relentlessly. Everyone disappeared into the night as fast as a bullet. I was the last passenger to alight. And there, surprise!!  Not more than 50m away from where I was standing, was an entrance of a hotel!

 Drenched as I was from head to toes, I rushed into the hotel. A chinese lady of about 30 years old was sitting at the reception.. She didn't look at all pleased as I was soaking wet and water was dripping all over the carpet.

Nonetheless, I checked in.