Thursday, February 24, 2011

5 Days

Ok. Where to begin…

I will begin with an apology for not posting anything for the last week, and continue with a reasonably good excuse as to why not. On my second last day in Hong Kong I was jumped by the notorious novovirus hoodlum, and it took me hostage in the isolation ward of the hospital for three days. My captors stuck drugs into me, starving me saying ‘nil by mouth’ and making people wear masks when they were around me. Forced to watch midday television in an unrecognisable language, I thought my spirits were surely weakened beyond repair. When I woke on the third day to yet a new pair of strawberry-patterned pyjamas and matching undies, I knew I had to make a change. Luckily I ended up kicking its ass and making my way out just in time for an emergency flight to Shanghai because I missed my original train.

Still shaking from sickness and managing the weight of my luggage, I stumbled out of the airport into the Shanghai night and began shivering from the cold. A two hour bus ride saw me dropped at the side of the road, hailing a taxi, practicing my mandarin already with the driver who tried to scam me. Now I’m hauling my own luggage out of the boot, straining to find a street lamp so that I can read my map of the campus. Find my way, find the right information desk, hand over my documents, get told that I am not registered for a room.

Now I am actually in despair. I brainstorm places I could sleep for the night, then I call my mum. Hallelujah and angels descend from the heavens – my lateness should have been expected, people had been informed, I was to have a bed. It was time to get big. I approach the desk, looked them man in the eye and do my best Blanchett-as-Queen-Elizabeth-getting-pissed impression. It works. The dude is checking emails. Turns out some guy sent an email to this dude – and I have a room!

I get to my room on the fifth floor, it’s even colder in the room than outside. I have no mattress. Or pillow. Or doona. I have no food and no water. Step outside my room to look around and my door closes behind me – locks me out. Down the stairs to the desk. Ten minutes later and I manage to make myself understood, get laughed at, get back into my room. Take my seven pills of medication without water and put as many clothes on as I can wear and lie down on the wood. Six hours of time and one hour of sleep later, its morning. Thank god.

Make a new friend and we go eat a feast. Things are getting much better, very quickly now. With a belly full I go get proper bedding and some food and water from the supermarket. Then after some red tape registration stuff we have another belly full of dinner and retire. I now have a hot water card, so I figure out how the showers work and scalded myself with lukewarm water until my skin adjusted to the idea of real heat once again. My heater is working well this night, I can feel my toes and I have set up my internet!!! Life is grand!!! I crawl into a bed that is soft and warm, and I go straight to sleep.

When I woke up this morning I felt like the past week was just a bad, bad nightmare. I can function as a human being again now, and I am emailing and skypeing like a fiend. The campus is beautiful, my new friends are hilarious and the food is awesome.

I am amazed at how much my life can change in the space of 5 days.

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