I hate Google Maps! I really do. I can never make it work and the blue dot always gets stuck and then when it starts working again, I have overshot my turn! ARRGGGGH!!
So was the case as I was “Lost in Shanghai.”
Wednesday after school was going to be a big day! My MAC was ready, and I was going to get a bike! So off to find a taxi that would get me to the I-Store where I had dropped the MAC for repair more than two weeks ago. The bike store was just across the street and I would be home in about an hour!
After I picked up the MAC, I set off to the sports store to purchase my new wheels! Well, sorry to say it is not a TREK bicycle, but I didn’t really want to buy a GREAT bike only for it to get stolen. Two friends have recently had their new bikes stolen! It would hurt greatly to have an expensive TREK bike stolen! So, I settled for something a little cheaper. Ok, a whole lot cheaper. It is certainly not my carbon fiber Madone I have grown to love.
I left the store sporting a new Blue B’Twin Bicycle, single speed with fenders and a huge front basket and rack on the back. Oh, I can’t forget, it has a bell.
I put my bag in the basket, which contained the MAC and school stuff, along with the new bike pump and lock, threw my leg over the bar, and took off! I had studied the map so I knew I could get home fairly quickly, approximately 30 minutes. Heading up the street, I decided to turn right, instead of left. I knew it was left, but the street sign was pointing right! What’s the deal? Hmmmm. I decided against my gut feeling, to head right.
Two hours later, I was still turning right, and left and right, and left! You get the idea. Yep, I was officially “Lost in Shanghai!” At least I had wheels and my cell phone that I had unlocked a couple of days earlier. As much as I despise Google Maps, I decided to give it a whirl. I pulled over, well I about fell over when the guy behind me didn’t stop when I did and ran into me! It was awkward with the front end of the bike wobbling with the weight of the MAC and all the stuff I had loaded in the basket, so to be hit from behind about threw me over the handle bars.
Stupid Google Maps! Why doesn’t the blue dot move? Why is it telling me compass interference, please move somewhere else? Which pin am I, red or green? Why are there two pins already? I haven’t even entered an address! I entered my destination address and tried to follow the purple line. I couldn’t see it without my glasses, but didn’t want to take the time to locate them in the bag either. So I tried making the map bigger then I couldn’t get the screen back to a normal size to figure out where I was. Oh how life sucks…..if you let it!
I needed to call someone and figure out why it kept saying compass interference or I would never get home! I called my friend Cory and he suggested shaking the phone in a figure 8 position. That seemed to do the trick, for a little while anyway. I could get a map just long enough to see a blue dot but didn’t know which pin to move toward. I hoped it was the red one! I took off. The blue dot froze again! Arrggghhh. 7:30 p.m. It was dark. I was riding aimlessly around not recognizing any of the streets whatsoever. I decided to throw in the towel and try to catch a taxi.
Well guess what? Taxi drivers just wave you on if you want to get in with a bike! I even offered 100RMB extra, but NO. They were no help! I decided to stop and ask one of the three wheel taxi drivers where my street was, but he didn’t speak English so he was no help! However, as I was trying to talk to him, a young Chinese girl said, “I can help you.” OMG, someone who spoke English! She tried to hail a taxi for me, but no one would take a bike. I showed her the address on my card and she knew the area. She gave me directions but said it would be too far by bike. I told her it was ok, I didn’t mind the ride if I just knew where I was going! She gave me directions and off I went
In the meantime, I received a call from another friend, Josh who had received a text from Cory stating that I may be lost! Now this is where that love/hate relationship comes to play. I told him the street name I was on and the cross street ahead and he was able to pinpoint my location on his phone, using Google Maps! Darn Google Maps, why didn’t it work for me?? He guided me for about 30 minutes and made sure I was rolling up to the correct intersection. My phone now had only 10% of its battery life left. I got final directions and hung up, hoping I wouldn’t need to call back. But just in case I needed to, I opened my bag, turned on my MAC and plugged in my I-Phone so it could charge. Oh modern technology….
So here I am, the only foreigner within miles of where I stood with my bicycle, charging my I-Phone on my Mac, which is in my big basket on the front of my bike, in the dark, in my work clothes, all the while wondering why it is SOOOOO difficult to get around in this town! If their street names had letters other than iouxp and q in them, it might be a little easier to get around! I took off with the directions Josh had just given me over the phone by Google Maps and exactly three hours from when I left the bike shop, I was home! So much for a quick 30 minute ride.
I still hate Google Maps, but thank goodness for Google Maps when someone else is navigating and I am doing the riding!