Here’s a blog I wrote while sitting in the Shanghai airport while waiting for my flight:
Well we finished 25th, 2 points away from securing a win in pool play against the 1-seed (only due to being the host country) and advancing to the single elimination playoff rounds. Definitely tough to swallow but throughout the course of all this partner switching going on with the Canadian men’s teams, I’m happy that Sam and I have continued as it’s familiar territory on the court and allows us to both play at our top level while improving each event.
I left the tournament a day earlier than Sam to head downtown Shanghai with Chaim and Ben. It took two cabs to make it all the way there; just over an hour later we arrived at our hotel. Or what was classified as a hotel… I always thought hotels were supposed to be clean and free of mold and mildew, not this place (at least it was only $35/night?) To make it even worse, there were only two single beds in the room (I’m now thinking I would have rather dropped $100/ea on a room at the Ritz or something fancy like that.)
We were itching to hit the markets and find some cheap knock-off goods. Ben, as usual, opted out for some shuteye so Chaim and I journeyed to the markets. We both wanted some new kicks and soon found ourselves in a heated debate trying to haggle two pairs for 400yuan (roughly $30 CAD/ea) – after going back and forth forever we finally made it happen. To refuel we hit an outdoor patio and while sitting enjoying our surroundings were interrupted by a guy selling watches – by the time we finished our beverages we were the new owners of two sweet watches, happy with the deal we got.
Upon returning to the hotel we decided to address the bed issue, two of us would be sharing the bed large enough for only one. We agreed on a straw-pulling-like game and to my excitement I emerged as the winner, providing Chaim and Ben with some quality team bonding time trying to figure out the best method of sharing their child sized bed.
In the morning, having slept great, I notice Ben and Chaim both looking like zombies as they leave at 7am having got little to no sleep. They depart and I hang out watching some NHL playoffs while waiting to head to the airport later that morning.
I took taxi to airport and the driver was extremely chatty speaking pretty good English, which was refreshing. However, he didn’t know how to smoothly accelerate and the stop-and-go drive was quite nauseating.
As we pulled into the airport, he stopped the meter before I have a chance to look. There were three receipts hanging out and the driver quickly ripped them into individual receipts to try and hide which one was mine. He turns around and claims I owe him 400yuan (~$60 ride)
This being my third visit to China I laugh and say no way. We begin to haggle (luckily I have lots of practice from the markets) and he comes back with 350.
“Show me receipt,” I say
The cab driver starts yelling in Chinese, then mutters “ok 300”.
“No chance, show me receipt”
He continues yelling, then “ok, ok 300.”
I begin speaking in long sentences to try to annoy him, “there is absolutely zero chance I’m paying you 300 for this ride.” He finally shows me a receipt (although I’m on to him – it’s not the right one) and I find the time on the receipt and see it is from 9am and reads 250yuan. I show this to him, he rips receipt from hand and says “ok 200” – the arguing, and price debate continues -
Finally, looking disgusted, he hands over my receipt, and I see it’s the correct time with a total cost of 173yuan. I hand him two-100 bills and ask for 20 in return to make for an easy exchange and quick getaway.
What a way to end my time in China. I never thought I would fight so hard for just a few dollars but at this point it was about the principal and I wasn’t going to let that greasy cab driver take advantage of me. Thankfully the FIVB in Beijing isn’t for another 5 months.
Having spent a few days back home on the island and now back in Toronto, I’m feeling quite refreshed. We leave for the next event in Argentina this Saturday.