Day 19: Wrong Director

Returning from the trip to the museum today, a bunch of students start off to find the bus back to campus. We’re told in Chinese, “Go two stops down and then cross the street to get on the bus going the other direction. Bus #65.” We cross the road, and set down to find the bus station. As we walk down the street, the 65 starts off and we run to catch it. Some people make it on but it is too crowded so some of us wait for the next one. As we wait, I examine the bus sign which says that we are actually headed away from school. I politely argue, “guys, we need to cross the street again and get on the bus going the other way.” A student argues back, “the bus goes in a loop so we are fine and don’t need to cross the street.” I know this is false but can’t say for sure so I concede. We get on the next bus, go three stops and get off realizing that, yes, I was right to begin with. Wrong direction.

What does this story prove? a) Ryan really knows his Beijing transportation, b) don’t follow the group, c) read the signs, or d) stick to your instinct. Leave your answer in the comments.

Most students here are still stuck in the heard mentality. They want someone to figure out their plans for them. Not just getting on buses, but as the Spring Festival approaches, the same applies to travel plans. When one person has plans to go one place and plans it out, everyone jumps on board asking if they too can join in. That’s okay but it is resulting in groups of 20 going Xi’an and groups of 10 going to Hainan Island. Smaller groups are uncommon and yet are probably the best way to travel — smart and safe.

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