One Night in Zhangye

We were tired, sleepy, all alone among hundreds of thousands of Chinese living in the city of Zhangye.. Standing in the middle of the square in front of the Giant Buddha Temple me and Anya were thinking of where to spend the night.. How could we know that the temple is not a temple at all, but a museum, which is closed at night.. Our chances to find free accommodation were million to one.. The Buddhist temple was closed.. Priests of the Christian church sent us away, and the internet cafe was too cold to spent the night there.. We were in despair.. I left Anya on the square and went to look for some ways to get in through the gates so that we could put our tent and sleep there.. Wandering around I came across a statue of a monk, sitting in meditation.. I don’t know why but I hugged the statue and said, “Hello old man! I don’t know who you are but…please, help us..” The statue was cold to me.. I mean it was really cold, physically.. I turned back to see where my friend was (she was at same place where I left her) when I noticed a big black car turning off the road and parking right in the middle of the square near Anya..

~The statue of a monk~

A 50-year-old Chinese came out of the car and smiled.. “Hellooooooooooooooo.. Frieeend.. Frieeeeeend..” God knows how that guy managed to drive, because he was blind drunk! But he was very polite and friendly.. What he was saying we could only guess.. We tried to explain him we are looking for a place to sleep and asked him if he knows any cheap hotel.. But he was just smiling.. Eventually, we ended up in his car going…..I wasn’t sure where.. When he invited us to go with him, my friend Anya was against it.. And she had her point.. The Chinese man was drunk and he could kill us in a car crash.. But I had a feeling that we have to go with him.. Unbelievable, but we survived.. After a 20-minute crazy he dropped us off at Zhangye Huachen International Hotel.. A 4-star hotel..

~On the streets of Zhangye~


He insisted to go in with him.. 50 USD for one night? Hell no! The manager of the hotel spoke a little of English.. We apologized for disturbing him, thanked our drunken driver, explained him that we’ll go to Internet cafe.. Some 2 USD for the whole night in internet cafe, where you can find a corner to sleep till morning – common thing for China.. And a good option if you’re stuck somewhere and have no wish to spend the night at expensive hotels for foreigners.. But when we were about to leave, the old Chinese man began to scream and shout on the hotel’s manager.. I only could understand the words “friend” and “Russia”.. Then the manager called us and said, “Our hotel wants to give you a room for free.. You can stay here for one night.. It’s a present..” Needless to say how surprised we were..
“No, no.. That’s fine.. We better go.. Thank you..”
“But it’s a present from our hotel.. You stay here..”
“But why? What did the driver tell you? Is he going to pay? We don’t want him to pay for us. Tell him we are grateful for his help but we can’t accept it.. Thank you.. We’ll go..”
“No, no.. He don’t pay.. Present.. Our hotel give present.. You walk.. Far country.. Our hotel give present..”
All of a sudden, the driver said good-bye, shook our hands and left.. We were confused.. The hotel manager was smiling..

Later that night, lying in a bed warm and comfortable I was thinking about the statue of a monk.. How I asked him to help, and how the drunken driver appeared at that exact moment and what had happened to us after.. Was it simply a coincidence? I don’t think so..

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6 thoughts on “One Night in Zhangye

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention One Night in Zhangye « On The Road -- Topsy.com

  2. Pingback: Gaint Buddha Temple « On The Road

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