Frenchman Has Concrete Jungle Nightmare on First Day in Nanjing

Frenchman Has Concrete Jungle Nightmare on First Day in Nanjing
Jun 09, 2013 By

“Neuer” is a 22 year-old man from France who arrived in Nanjing on June 7 for work. With help from a friend, he rented an apartment in the city that lies in a complex of 91 buildings. Around 22:00 that night, Neuer was on his way back to his new apartment after doing some shopping when he got lost amid the concrete jungle of the apartment complex. 

After trying but failing to get through to his friend for help, Neuer felt helpless among the identical looking buildings. A nearby guard eventually spotted a distressed Neuer and went over to help, though all hope was lost when the pair was unable to overcome language barriers. It was then that Neuer, presumably unfamiliar with the concept of the Bad China Day, sat down on near the gate of the apartment complex and starting crying. 

The guard then phoned the police who soon arrived to help, and with limited English asked Neuer if he could remember anything about the appearance of his apartment. Apart from the fact that the building was one the 16th floor, Neuer recalled that the door was decorated with a large red Chinese character, which he tried his best to recreate by sketching the character on the ground with his fingers. Despite the fact this was his first day in China, Neuer managed to sketch the character pretty accurately, and the police soon recognized the word as “福” (“Fu”, which ironically means good fortune).

Police then went with Neuer and looked around the 16th floors of several buildings, though found that the word “福” was hung on quite a few doors, and the search proved unfruitful. Neuer then suddenly remembered that there was also a piece of white paper covered in Chinese writing at the entrance to his building. Police then realized that this was probably notifications written by the local property management company, which were usually stuck on notice boards at most buildings.   

In a last gasp attempt at finding his way home, Neuer stated that a crane was visible from his apartment balcony. Police were then able to locate Neuer’s apartment building, with the overjoyed Frenchman repeatedly blurting out “thank you!” in broken Chinese.

Neuer even offered the police money as thanks for what must have been an embarrassing ordeal, but they politely refused.

See also: 3 Foreigners Caught Stealing Whiskey in Beijing Supermarket

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Keywords: Bad China Day Frenchman in Nanjing


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he will never become familiar with a concept of a good China day

Dec 08, 2015 12:34 Report Abuse



Ummmm... I've been lost once apon a time in China, I happened to get on the wrong bus and before I knew it I was on the freeway heading out into the country side. Looking out the window in confusion I happened to see a sign saying that I was about 20ks away from where I wanted to be. I had little Chinese ability at that time, I had 40rmb in my wallet, my phone was out of battery and to top it all off it was getting dark and the bus wasn't returning. Not to mention there were no banks there or taxis in this barren land. When I stepped off the bus I felt like I was in a spaghetti western movie as the dust blew and the townsfolk were looking at me, I could almost hear the music to an Eastwood movie playing in the background. I had no idea what I was going to do, but I culd see the humour in it. I sat down next to the dusty road when along came my saviour (a guy on a motorbike). After some pointing, waving hands around and me emptying my wallet we came to an understanding. I jumped on the back of his bike and we rode off into the sunset with the wind in our hair, after some serious riding I ended back in familiar territory and made it back to my humble adobe. So to be honest, a guy crying because he can't find his building within the same complex really makes me laugh.

Jun 13, 2013 10:56 Report Abuse



my thoughts exactly. you are there, all you need to do is go into each building to the same floor and spot.

Jun 14, 2013 15:13 Report Abuse



Poor guy. I learned to always have my address in Hanzi on my person the hard way, too. Those situations suck, but they end up becoming good stories once the shock and embarrassment wears off. I've actually come to sort of like getting lost in a new Chinese city when I travel; you aren't going to wind up in a 'dangerous part of town', and it's a good way to explore. The very first time I got lost in Beijing, I ended up outside one of those military shut-off zones. There were like 3 people on the street, including me. Guess who the soldiers were all staring at.

Jun 10, 2013 12:00 Report Abuse



A 22 year old in Nanjing on work purposes? How did this guy get a work visa? If he is working on a business visa, the police may not be as helpful the next time he encounters them.

Jun 10, 2013 06:17 Report Abuse



How can you say "thank you" in "broken Chinese?" It's just the same word twice.

Jun 09, 2013 23:15 Report Abuse



i'm sorry this guy is stupid. (maybe it's because i grew up in the city). but what moron does not recognize the potential problem from watching the buildings from the outside. then you have to pay very close attention to every detail. but he is young so probably that is a factor also. i was taken to my friends home once, then i could find my way out by myself and back to the apartment by myself. pay attention to landmarks and remember the turns. there are always significant unique landmarks.

Jun 09, 2013 19:04 Report Abuse



I don't think you really see the picture.Just coming,99 buildings all alike? with fu 福 hanging at almost every door? I had the experience so I know what he went through.

Jun 12, 2013 06:54 Report Abuse



On my first day, I just took pictures of where I lived, and areas close by as I walked. So if I got lost, someone could just point me in the right direction.

Jun 09, 2013 19:00 Report Abuse