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Messages - rgeczi

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Other Useful Information / Re: Public bicycles coming to Hefei
« on: April 07, 2014, 01:38:40 PM »
They supposedly said it's being done in other parts of China with success, so, I don't know.  We'll see how it goes here.

Other Useful Information / Public bicycles coming to Hefei
« on: April 06, 2014, 04:48:09 AM »

Travel / Re: Tale of Idiots at Ctrip
« on: April 04, 2014, 10:09:43 PM »

The way I look at this is, through the Ctrip site and cust. service via phone, I ended up with a lot more hassle and confusion, compared to Elong.  It's that simple.  We can sit her wondering about what that girl at Ctrip thought or whatever, but in the end, I asked the same questions at both places, and went through the same procedures more or less via the sites.  In the end, I now have a ticket with Elong, for a lot less hassle.  To me, it's a no brainer.

I try not to over complicate things when it comes to things like this.  You either get the end result, or not.  And for this example, Elong got be there without any misunderstandings or hitches.  It's that simple.

***EDIT*** I have run websites before, both e-commerce and not, and with e-commerce, you really have to focus on two things:

1.  Simplicity of the whole purchasing process (including customer support)
2.  A multitude of payment options to cover as many bases as possible

Those are the two main things.  Yes, of course there are other points, but those are the two main things.  If my sites were lacking that, I tended to have a lot more misunderstandings than I needed to.  A well designed site will pretty much run on auto-pilot.  It's where people don't put up the information as clearly as they should, or lack in important details and procedures, is where things go wrong.

Travel / Re: Tale of Idiots at Ctrip
« on: April 04, 2014, 07:42:53 AM »
I won't keep this rant on any longer, so I will end it like this:

Went to Elong, booked a ticket, paid for ticket via my Chinese bank account (quite a bit less than Ctrip), and now I have an e-ticket which I mention to the check in counter people, just like previous times.

Just like that.  Done.

Travel / Re: Tale of Idiots at Ctrip
« on: April 04, 2014, 02:20:20 AM »
Here's another example for you guys praising Ctrip.  Or am I the only one that thinks it's run by a bunch of monkeys?  Keep in mind, this is a different customer service rep. than before.

I recently "booked" a flight for travel outside China, using Ctrip, Chinese site.  They sent confirmation to my phone, two times, and naturally I was looking to complete the purchase by paying for the tickets.  I checked all over the place, yet couldn't find an option to do so.  There was a "submit order" button, but after clicking it, it just gave an error.  This was last night.

So, this morning, I called Ctrip and told the girl about this.  I asked, how can I complete the purchase.  She confirmed my identity and she told me my options.  I said, can I pay with Union Pay as I recently did this from their site for train tickets, and she said yes.  Keep in mind, for those train tickets, I paid with my Union Pay card directly from the site without a hitch (the other parts that irked have already been mentioned).  But the payment part, was done without a problem.

Surely the same can be done for flight tickets, if done through the Chinese Ctrip site.  Wrong.  Well, kind of wrong.  She said, I can do the payment via phone using my Union Pay card, but that it would be done on the phone.  WTF.  On the phone?  I have never done any Union Pay payments on the phone.  To me, that is credit card area, which this is not what mine is.  She then told me, where in Shanghai would you like the tickets delivered?  I said, I don't need because I could just go to the check in counter at the airport, and tell them the ticket number (e ticket, as I have done with China Southern, Air Macau, and Shenzhen Airlines).  She said for an e-ticket, you can only pay by credit card.  For a physical ticket, you can pay for it by Union Pay card.

I thought, ok, if it is COD via ACTUAL cash, I can see their point.  They only send out people in a certain area to do COD to pick up the money.  I get that.  But if I "paid" for this ticket with my Union Pay card while on the phone with this girl, why in the world would it matter where I live in China, seeing as this would then be classified as an e-ticket?

Someone please give me a different point of view because I am not seeing the Ctrip you all are talking about.  If you haven't paid via Union Pay before, then you probably won't be able to give your two cents, as credit card and COD seems to be more accepted by them.  Anyways, I would love to hear your thoughts on this one.

Travel / Re: Tale of Idiots at Ctrip
« on: April 01, 2014, 09:02:54 AM »
The way I see it is, Ctrip clearly has a shipping department or person in charge of sending out receipts or whatnot via EMS.  So, that should mean this same person or department can handle incoming visitors who want to pick up their ticket in person, or via a third party company (courier, of my choosing in this instance).  Yet that is not how they do it.  It's a polar opposite compared with my experience with China Southern Airlines, where you can go to any one of their offices, to buy, pick up, or have sent, your ticket.

Regarding my urgency for this ticket, I won't go into too much detail at the moment because of something behind the scenes, but I will say that it is needed by the PSB in order for them to do something for me.  And that date is for tomorrow afternoon.

Again, most times, I won't even need a place like Ctrip, as I could care less for a paper ticket, and the prices are often cheaper if you purchase flight tickets, for example, directly from the airline website.

***EDIT*** To add, it just irritates the hell out of me of how cust. service in this case said 2 weeks, then 1 week, then 3 - 5 days.  Clearly this girl is not knowledgeable of their own procedures.  Anyone would get pissed at this alone, I don't care who you are.  And even though I've been here for almost 12 years, this is the one constant that I haven't fully gotten on board with, as I lack the patience for stupidity.

Travel / Tale of Idiots at Ctrip
« on: April 01, 2014, 06:14:03 AM »
Rant on the way.

Ok, I won't go too much into detail of where I am trying to book a flight or other parts of this.  This rant will solely focus on my recent experience with trying to book a flight through Ctrip.

For my current situation, I absolutely need a paper ticket sent to me, which I despise, but it's the only way to go for this.  So, I called Ctrip to see how long it would take to arrive in Hefei, after the online purchase.  The girl said 2 weeks.  I said, "WTF, are you joking?".  After I raised a bit of a stink and told her I routinely get stuff from Taobao much quicker, she then told me 1 week.  For my situation, I need it sent to me much quicker, so this wouldn't do.

I then asked, ok, can I myself arrange a courier company to pick up the ticket from the Ctrip office, and have it delivered to me?  She said no.  Then she said, no worries about the time, because the ticket would arrive in 3 - 5 days.  Again, this is after she told me 2 weeks, then 1 week, mind you.  I then asked, what is the nearest Ctrip office to Hefei, and she said Shanghai.  I later checked the "Contact Us" area of the site, and found a listing for Nanjing.  So, too bad I didn't mention this when I was on the phone with her.

Anyways, so I said, why can't I myself arrange a courier company to go to the office, to pick it up, and have it delivered to me (courier company would be SF), and she said, hold on a minute.  Keep in mind, at this point, there is only 1 idiot.  After a minute or so, she came back to the phone and said, after talking with the manager, the "ruling" still stood, with no pick ups of tickets from the office.  And even if I PERSONALLY went to the office to pick it up, that the option would not be available.  Are these guys underground in a secret lair layered in tons of security checkpoints making it wrong for people to visit them for this reason?  Man...

Rant coming to a close...I just hate stupidity, and poor customer service.  If I lived in Shanghai and told that I couldn't pick up my ticket from the office within the city I would be more irked.  If a more customer-oriented travel company comes along to cater to this market, I can see Ctrip going to the toilets not too long after.  In the end, I still don't know exactly what I will do with all of this, so I have to regroup.

Rant done.  Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Travel / Re: New travel consulting firm providing ENGLISH SERVICES!!!
« on: March 26, 2014, 03:08:28 AM »
I appreciate your entrepreneurial spirit, but for the plane ticket prices, you are going to have to do better than what I see.  Just go on Ctrip and see what I mean.

If needed, I can post a screenshot of what I am seeing, vs your prices.  I am just saying.

Good luck either way.

Travel / Re: travel tip
« on: March 02, 2014, 01:25:37 PM »
I would never step foot in Beijing.  The pollution would just gag the crap out of me.  My friend told me a joke, I guess you can call it, where he went to work in the morning with a white shirt, and came back home in the evening with a black one. lol

Travel / Re: Trip to Macau
« on: February 26, 2014, 09:37:17 AM »
BTW, not sure if anyone is interested, or knows of people who are, but if you guys need Cuban cigars, I might be able to find out more info the next time I go to Macau.  I saw a sign outside of a shop saying they sell it.  Maybe they make it, does that make it Macau cigars?  Anyways, let me know if there is any interest in this.  I even took a snapshot of it and posted it in my QQ Zone.

Travel / Re: Trip to Macau
« on: February 21, 2014, 08:20:06 AM »
This was my second time staying there and again, I encountered no problems whatsoever.  There was a guy who I spoke with in the hostel that said one time, (not sure if it was near the Chung King Mansion) he had a pocket in his carry on bag slashed, and lost quite a bit of cash.  Not sure if he left it on the ground unattended, or while he was walking.  But again for me, I didn't encounter any of this.  This guy "looked like money", so I guess if you dress "sweet", you will attract the bees.  I myself, had nothing to worry in that regard. lol

In terms of the rooms, they are small, as what you see online, but really, how much room do you need in your hotel room?  I don't need much, even though I am the size of a small bear.  So I highly doubt anyone else REALLY needs something spacious.  And where I stayed, they have everything you need, en suite shower and toilet, tv, air con./heater, desk, electrical outlets, fan, LARGE sturdy bed, towel for shower, and some other little things I can't remember at the moment.  Oh, and free Wifi and drinking water.  Like I said, what else do you need, really.

And you are RIGHT smack in the heart of everything.  Western eateries nearby?  Check.  Other types of eateries (Asian and so on)?  Check.  Two different MTR lines within steps of the hostel?  Check.  Oh, and don't forget drugs (if you partake, lol)?  Check.

Need I say more?  :)

Travel / Re: Trip to Macau
« on: February 20, 2014, 09:38:41 AM »
I'm back.

Ok, this is my thoughts on Macau, and a tip for probably the best option to do a visa run in Hong Kong, after checking out both places.

Macau is a good place if you LOVE seafood (which I don't) and LOVE snacks (which I don't).  Other than that, I don't see much to it really.  Yeah, I was only there for a couple of days, but in that short time, I kinda got the feeling that Macau is pretty much how I summed it up.  For me, it's not my cup of tea.

I prefer to do my visa runs exclusively at HK, and this is how I would go about it for the next trip:

1.  Fly to Macau via Air Macau (I will talk more about the in-flight service after).
2.  When you get off the plane, you will arrive at a junction in the walkway.  Go right, and you choose Macau.  Go left, and you choose Hong Kong.
3.  Going the HK option, you head on over to the ferry, and take a trip from there to Kowloon.
4.  From Kowloon harbour, take a very short taxi ride to Chung King Mansion, which is where I stayed on the cheap.
5.  From here, you have everything you want around you pretty much, in terms of food options.  And if you want to go directly to the Chinese Consulate on HK Island, the metro to do that, and later via a transfer, is steps away from the Chung King Mansion.

And that's it.  That's the simplest and least expensive way to get a new visa.  The plane ride to Macau is 858RMB with taxes all included, and whatever the cost of the ferry ride over to Kowloon, which should be around 200RMB.  Add a few HK bucks into the mix for taxi from the harbour to your accommodations, and that's it.

In regards to the in-flight stuff with Air Macau, it's great.  MUCH better than China Southern.  Air Macau offered a blanket, pillow, earphones, and the usual 1 meal (as with other airlines).

If you guys have any questions, post away, and I will try to help out.

Travel / Re: Trip to Macau
« on: February 08, 2014, 06:11:53 AM »
What's the name of that movie again? Oh yeah, Midnight Express II. I seriously advise against carrying parcels for anybody, even people (you think) you know.

No worries.  Scratch #2 off the list.


Health / How to gauge the level of pollution in Hefei?
« on: February 07, 2014, 12:26:41 PM »
How to gauge the level of pollution in Hefei?  Rub snow in your eyes, and you will get your answer. lol

In the past, while motorbiking around Hefei, I always dreaded rain, for the obvious reasons.  But in addition, getting rain in your eyes is similar to pouring battery acid on your eyes (not that I've tried, though).  Add to the list, snow.  Man, it's snowing now, and when this stuff gets in your eyes, it seems worse than rain, as it's "melting" the acid away in your eyeball socket. lol

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