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A collection of travel memories pre COVID-19 - Chapter 4

Updated: Feb 7, 2021

Bawling my eyes out at Suzhou station

It was a clear sunny weekend, the sun was shining, a cheerful morning indeed. A perfect day to visit Nanjing. I mean what could go wrong, correct? A confident woman with the world in her reach.

Time was 8.30 AM, I took the metro from Central Park station and got down at Suzhou station. My 1st mistake.

The train for Nanjing was actually from Suzhou North station which I was well aware of, however, I still do not understand to date why I decided to get down at Suzhou station to collect the hard copy of the tickets against my booking via My panic button hadn't just ticked off yet but when I reached the separate ticket counters which are dedicated to the high-speed trains, my heart sank. There were long queues in front of every counter. My watch struck 9 AM when I joined a queue.

After every few seconds of watching my wristwatch, I finally reached the front of the queue, got my hard copy, and dashed to catch the metro for Suzhou North station.

It was 8 stations and 25 minutes before I caught the train. My brain kicked into Shakuntala Devi mode and got down to 3 minutes per station which would leave me with one min to run and catch the train. I assumed under my hyper-panic-irrational mindset that the train would at least stop for 5 minutes for everyone to get onboard. Second mistake.

Exactly one min to go, I dashed out of the metro station towards the train station where again there was a queue to get in. At 10.03 AM, I was able to get inside the station. On the displays, I was unable to find my train number which triggered my level 2 panic state. Unable to hold my tears, my emotions burst in front of everyone.

A friendly worker, who took pity on me, from Suzhou Railways guided me to the ticket office and told me (through Google Translate) that I can exchange my ticket for a later time. I was not quite sure how would that work. But it did. The lady behind the counter handed me a new ticket 30 minutes ahead without any extra cost. At that moment, I believe I fell in love with China transport system. The most populated country in the world has one of the most efficient transport systems ensuring minimal stress to passengers & tourists alike.

Controlling myself and prying myself away from the pitiful stares, I was finally able to visit Nanjing, albeit the journey was not entirely successful.

The repurchase of tickets for