Ok, so the flight itself was hitch free. I was glad that I wasn't seating with the elderly man in front of me, a white American, who in the span of the 15+hours flight time, had managed to give a low-down of the past 3-4 decades of his life. I wouldn't have been able to deal with that. All through the flight time, it still didn't register to me that I was going to CHINA for 4 MONTHS!!!! One of my seatmates was Mongolian, nice girl she was. We spoke for a while, in which time I managed to subtly tell her that sometimes, I don't like to talk too much. I think she got the message cause she kept her chit-chat to a reasonable level.
Surprisingly, customs and baggage claim wasn't even a hassle at all. What? It is China!!! I expected soooo muccccchhh drama. Oh, the smart-carts were free unlike Naija and US where you need to definitely pay to carry your luggage out...mcheww. I got into arrivals to get to my program people, fortunately, they found me as I was glancing and glossing over people's faces. I met one of my roommates. I was to have two of them. We started making conjectures about how the rooms would be like because the brochure had said hotel-style rooms and there were 3 of us. Was I wrong in assuming that that should have translated as 3 bedrooms, a common room and bathroom? We got to the much prided Uni. as well as the much prided foreign-student's dorm in it. Typical Nigerian that I am, I had two 20-23kg bags, a satchel and a small suitcase (hand luggage size). They gave myself and the roommate (the 3rd person hadn't come) our keys. It had the same number. I should have used my street smartness instantly, but I was torn between racing up the stairs to my room on the fifth floor (no elevator) or slowly dragging all my bags at once (to avoid "thiefery"...duh! it is china....just like Lagos!). I opted for the latter.
***Side warning**** Be very careful and extra smart when dealing with Europeans, they like to think they are very very fast and smart (and sometimes, they really are). My roommate was well ahead of me in getting to the room and she is European. I guess you know where this story is going. Anyway, by the time I got to the room, here is what I found.
Oh SLAP ME SIDEWAYS!!! There were two rooms with one considerably smaller than the other one. The bigger one had two beds and almost no storage/closet present. The smaller one housed one bed with a couple of furniture for storage, a standing fan and a refrigerator. Oh, i forgot, the bigger one had a split a/c prolly an 80's model (works fine tho). Of course you know what had happened! Mon European ami had staked claims........on the smaller room..:) I would have done the same thing too, I guess. but that realisaion wasnt enough to stop me from being so upset at that time that I even passed on dinner (and you know how much I love food). Hotel-style room my ass...foreign student dorm my big fat Nigerian behind!!! Classic case of "may my expectations not be cut short"!
But one week after, I think I got really cool roommates and couldn't care less about the room situation anymore.
In the way of description though, my first impression of Beijing was...."Damn! they should warned me that I was going to a cleaner Lagos". Maka why?! The resemblance is great. The shacks, the pedestrian bridges, the road side hawkers, even to the corruptible policemen (so I have heard). We were particularly implored to stay away as much as we can from the policemen and I thought to myself, "now that shouldn't be hard, I have had several years of practice." Even those mosquitoes traveled all the way here too, Naija nor dey carry last! But the interesting thing is the mosquitoes sabi "better" thing. I can imagine a meeting ensued among them thus:
Quito Leader: I heard some real oyinbos are moving in today. We need to welcome them. Stay off them today and start your orientation with them tomorrow, comprende?
Quitoes: Yes boss
Quito Leader: Choi! Comrades! I swear them no lie when them talk say Naija dey everywhere o! During orientation this morning, I tasted Naija blood. There's no point in coming all this way, circumventing the vultures, planes and UFOs only to come and be sucking on Naija blood again. Stay away from her.
Quito 1: Besides, our colleagues back home for don take the better comot her body. Abeg, her blood go don be hand-me-down
As a manifestation of this, my roommates (both pale-skinned) have got some tattoo-looking-impressions all over; their legs, arms, even buttocks (don't ask me about that one, I dont know what happens after I turn off my lights) yet I have managed to get bitten just once.....so far. Hence, my roommates have come to the conclusion that the quitoes are racist, in my favor. Na so dem leave me with my hand-me-down blood. You just gotta love racist mosquitoes!