We slump into the rear of the taxi, two drunk Aussies in Dandong in North East China. Our interpreter, just as drunk as us, sits in the front next to the driver. He hands the driver a business card of the hotel we are staying at. The driver says a few words, our interpreter smiles, replies and the two of them laugh. Then the Toyota Crown lurches off at break-neck speed through the rain.
“What was that about?” I ask Charlie, the interpreter.
I notice that the humidity that has wafted up the Yalu River from the South China Sea has melted the driver’s spray-on hair, a treacle-like brown goo snaking down his sweaty neck.
“He said that he was too drunk to read the card and I’d have to tell him where the hotel is!”
I now notice the driver’s bottle of scotch on the front seat.
“Oh,” Charlie continued, “I also offered him an extra 100 RMB if he gets us there in five minutes!”
I hang on.