To catch the bus to Beijing involved waking up at 4.45! to catch the local buses back to Jinan. It’s light at that time and people were already on their way to work. The bus stop is unmarked, but another man showed up at the same random place on a 6 lane road so I figured I was ok. A lot of people came past with place names in the windscreen – it’s common to pick people up this way. I jumped in one and it was Y20 back to Jinan train station – Y3 more than 2 buses, and about an hour faster.
The bus to Beijing was comfy, and less than half full, so I had a whole row to sleep in. We stopped twice – one lunch break of about 20 min and a shorter toilet stop of about 5 min. There is never any paper.
I arrived in Beijing about 5pm, and had no idea which bus station I was at. After an hour of wandering around I found a sign pointing to the railway station. This led me on a 3km trip to Beijing South Station, where I had my first experience of the Beijing subway. I thought it was just because it was rush hour but it is ALWAYS packed. 2 hours later I made it to my homestay.