Across Continents

Ken's Blog

“Sheraton please”

August 27th, 2010

"Sheraton please" I said in what I hoped was passable Mandarin – "Sheraton ching". I’d jumped into a taxi close to where I was staying in the suburbs of Urumqi, heading towards the centre of the city. Not decadence, just practicality. On my first day I’d trekked the five or so miles to the heart of the provincial capital. Tired by the heat, I’d decided to take a taxi, rather than walk, back to my lodgings, only to discover the fare was just a pound.

A return trip by taxi was simple enough. I’d a card with the address of my lodgings written on it in Chinese to show to the driver. But, at first, I’d been a bit flummoxed as to how to explain where I’d want to go in the centre, especially in a place about four times the size of Glasgow or Edinburgh. Then I’d hit on the idea of a landmark I might be able to easily find the address for in Chinese. Like the Sheraton Hotel I’d spotted the previous day. Bilingual website, so straightforward to track down directions, and five minutes effort to carefully transcribe the characters onto a scrap of paper.


Seemed to work, even if the driver appeared a little confused as to why I stopped the taxi a little short of the hotel. The website indicated they preferred Category 3 guests, but, whilst I’d not been able to access details, I’d a shrewd idea I probably didn’t fit the profile.

Terms & Conditions of Use | Copyright © 2009-2024 Ken Roberts