Today I took the bus all by myself. Usually, for me to take the bus I first take the route with a Chinese student so I can learn what bus number to take and what the exit point looks like. Because everything is in a jumble of Chinese characters and colorful bus routes on the sign. Essentially illegible.
But today I wanted cheese. And to get cheese you have to go to Carrefour, which is all the way down and around West Lake. It is like a 20 rmb cab ride. I had time and was feeling adventurous so I went to the bus stop and checked out the map. Essentially I stood around and decided “bus 25” looked pretty good so I got on, and figured if it started to get too far off course I’d just hop off. For 2 rmb a ride (like 30 cents) it wasn’t a major investment.
But bus 25 was the winner! It got me within a few blocks of the store!
So now I am home with cheese and bread and the satisfaction of getting myself around this city all by myself. I can’t believe that I’ve lived here for three months and I am finally able to do things without asking for help every step of the way. Well a little help. I wrote down the address (in Chinese characters!!) and asked a guard along the way (in Chinese!!) if it was near by. He understood me AND my written address and pointed me in the right direction.
I feel like I’ve leveled up in a crazy video game.
Take that China!