In 2015 we packed up our flat, sold a bunch of our stuff, and imposed the rest on friends and family, and left England for a year. We were heading to Beijing for my husbands year abroad at University and I would be looking for a job when we got there. (My attempts to secure something before we arrived hadn’t worked yet.) I don’t think anything could have prepared us for what to expect arriving in Beijing at about 3 or 4 in the morning. We had 2 suitcases each and an address for the hotel we’d booked for our first week while we looked for a new home. Oh boy!
It seemed to take a while but eventually the taxi driver got us where we needed to go… well that’s what we thought. As it turned out, our first adventure was unfolding.
We ended up among a collection of high-rise flat accommodation with no way of getting into the building where there was apparently a “hotel”. We couldn’t work it out. I actually sat down outside the door with all the cases for a few minutes while Andrew went to speak to the security men to try and get some clue of what was going on.
At this point, Andrew’s Chinese wasn’t as good as it is now so all we got from that exchange was confirmation that we were in the right place. Apparently. But we still couldn’t get in so that wasn’t much help.
We could think of nothing to do but wait.
After a while, someone came by who could let us in. Great – we were now in a building that looked nothing like a place where we would be able to access at bed at what was probably 4 in the morning by now!
And then we went to the fourth floor.
If you don’t know – the Chinese hate the number 4. It sounds a lot like their word for death… which is what the fourth floor actually looked like. It was terrifying. One flickering light, graffiti and properly broken glass, and the lift seemed to have a mind of its own.
There had been no sign of life and no indication of where to go, other than the ominous feeling we got on the 4th floor. It literally took second for us to unanimously agree that we needed to find somewhere new to spend the night!
The story continues…