The Spring Festival Rush

How to get a ticket home for the holidays

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As the Spring Festival nears and the annual travel rush accelerates toward a pre-festival peak between January 20 and 24, tickets are becoming increasingly difficult to come by.

An old joke about a clever way to score a ride out of Beijng has surfaced on a number of blogs and forums. Sichuan-based blogger Zeng Ying reposted the story under the title "An awesome ticketless seat" and notes, "This story was found on the Internet and may be made-up; use your best judgment":

A colleague of mine received an emergency notice from a client asking him to come sign an order in Changchun the next day. Scrambling to reserve a ticket, he discovered that all the day's train tickets were sold out, and the airlines only had 15% discounted tickets left (the company wouldn't cover anything beyond half the full ticket price).

My colleague lamented, "Isn't there any cheap way to get to Changchun?"

Another colleague he was on pretty good terms with came over and whispered in his ear. ".....don't worry. I've always done it that way!"

So that afternoon, my colleague took a whole bunch of scrap A4 paper from the copy machine, stapled it into a packet, and then took a taxi to the gate of the State Letters and Complaints Bureau, where he got out, held up the packet, and shouting: "The people of Changchun are in dire straits!" Instantly, a Naveco van pulled up in front of him, and quick as lightning he was pushed inside and sent straight off to Changchun. He didn't even have to pay for a meal on the way.

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