Prescription for Disaster

Sunday, 31 July 2011

My Kingdom for a Phillips Head Screwdriver

Oh, things here are rarely ever boring.

This morning we're scheduled to leave at 8am on a 9 hour drive from Maerkang to Langmusi. It's 7:55, my group is downstairs packing up the bus and I've just tied up my shoes. I throw on my pack and go to leave... the door won't open. The deadbolt has broken in half and I am now locked in.

Okay fine. Not a big deal. I'll call down to reception to get them to send someone to save me. My phone doesn't work. ( as I now realize why I didn't receive a wakeup call ) Okay fine. The next possible thing is to shout out to anyone in the hall, so I press my face up to the door and holler "Jiu ming! Mei kai men!" ( save my life! My door won't open!) Luckily, the person on the other side of the door is one of my group members so I explain to them what has happened and ask him to send up the girl from reception.

He goes down to the reception and with much difficulty tries to explain to her that his Tour Leader is locked inside her hotel room and needs rescuing. It's not working so he walks around the counter, takes her by the elbow and brings her upstairs. Now, she's a very nice girl, but not the sharpest tool in the shed. From the locked side of the door I explain to her (in Chinese) that my door lock is broken and I can't get out and for her to please fetch the maitenance man. She really doesn't get it and keeps insisting that I simply open the door so she can see what the problem is. (when she said that she was very fortunately on the other side of the door because I surely would have strangled her ) Once I unleashed a bit of rage through the door she finally realized what the problem was and went away to fix it - by getting the master key.  She comes back and uses her master key on the door but it won't open, to her great surprise. She then informs me that Oh! You have to unlock the deadbolt to open the door! Did you know that? ( Seriously, if there hadn't been a very solid barrier between us her body would never have been found. )

So after much yelling on my part she finally went to get the maitenance man. I try to explain to them that all I need is a screwdriver but I don't know the word for it. They go to the room beside mine ( on the 6th floor ) and 4 Chinese people hang out the window, including the reception girl. They think that because my bus is waiting I should climb out my window ( on the 6th floor ) and into the adjacent room that they are all hanging out of. Uh, no. I explain to them that all I need is a screw driver ( with charades ). They brought me a hammer. Nope, not going to help. I charade again. They left and about 8 minutes later they brought me a small hacksaw. Again, not very useful. Now I have drawn a picture of a screwdriver and passed the picture to them by zipping it into a sweater pocket and throwing the sweater to them while hanging out of the window. Thrilled that this time it might work I sit back and wait.

They brought me a screw.

Oh my God. I'm apparently dealing with a wild pack of circus monkeys. I yell down to my group, who are all watching from the road below, that all I need is a phillips head screwdriver and could someone please go find one. Someone ran down the street to the nearest hardware store, bought the correct screwdriver, came up to the room beside me, tied it to a piece of string and swung it over to me. I then took off the lock and went downstairs to check out.

Here's the kicker: the hotel tried to charge me for damage done to the lock while removing it from the door!

Ah, I can't wait to go home...

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