With map in hand pointing to Chinese characters meaning Wutong Pier to the taxi, I arrived at the ferry dock. Choosing a seat by a window, I realized all were too dirty to see out. A man sat down next to me and began talking in English, clearly knowing that was my native tongue. He was a businessman from Taipei who was taking the ferry from Xiamen to Kinmen in order to get a reasonable flight to Taipei.
George was an affable gent I felt comfortable asking questions. I learned the Taiwanese felt as I did regarding Mao, which contradicts the sentiments in China. China is viewed as communist as well, whereas Taiwan is democratic.
He told me his driver would take me to my hotel. When I explained I needed to secure one, preferably a home stay, he said he would instruct his driver, who spoke no English. After dropping George off at the airport, I was taken to hotel where Judy informed me that it was a holiday weekend. Hence, banks were closed and exchanging money wouldn't be possible. The rates at the hotel were much higher than I was prepared for anyway. I had told her I had actually wanted a home stay and if the rates were decent I wanted to spend three nights. I also told her I had no local currency. She had me take a seat while she found a place and arranged for me to be picked up and stay three nights and rent a scooter where my Chinese currency was accepted.
She asked what I would eat and I told her I had brought some crackers and soda. She offered me to get a bite from what remained at the buffet breakfast. Although I declined, the offer was incredible thoughtful and I thanked her profusely.
I hopped into the care with a man who spoke no English but motioned with his hand directions each time we made a turn. Twenty minutes later I checked into a traditional Fujian room with no address or room number that I could see. He wrote down the figure for the room and scooter and gave me change in local currency. Holding two fat billfolds he somehow indicated he would exchange money for me if I wanted for which I was grateful.
He walked me over to five motorcycles, all of which were grey except for one red one. He showed me the key, how to turn it on, where the gas tank was, and that it was on empty. Within minutes, map of Kinmen in hand all in Chinese, I headed off trying to recall how to get back to Jincheng. This was the name of the main city, I later learned.
Somehow, the fact that I didn't know the name of the village I was in, the address, the phone number, or the proprietor didn't seem to weigh heavy on my mind. I managed to navigate my way around with the slogan, "thank heaven for 7-11" playing in my head. Not only is this where I bought water and a bowl of noodles for dinner that night, but also where I learned about fueling. As a man rode up on a scooter, I said hello in Chinese, pointed to my gas tank, shrugged my shoulders and motioned in a circle with my arm above my head. He seemed to understand, pointed up the street a block and to turn right. Success! I filled up the tank.
Despite burning daylight due partly to being distracted by an extremely low tide, and a mistake requiring retracing steps, I arrive at my room and sleep very well. The only sound around was my breathing.