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Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Home Health Coronavirus Trapped in Wuhan 70 Days, Eating Instant Noodles, No Money to Pay...

Trapped in Wuhan 70 Days, Eating Instant Noodles, No Money to Pay Rent, Expelled

My name is Junjie Wu and I am 32 years old. I am from the rural area of Wulanchabufengzhen City, Inner Mongolia Province. Before the age of 30, I had sold home appliances and operated KTV, but all ended in failure. In the past few years, I have lived a turbulent life and lived on odd jobs to earn a small income.

Train ticket for Wu Junjie arriving in Wuhan
Train ticket for Wu Junjie arriving in Wuhan

For almost 70 days in stranding Wuhan, I ate instant noodles every day, and sometimes even picked up a box lunch that others don’t want; my phone was down for ten days and I could n’t contact my family; I was ousted by the boss because I could n’t afford the rent that 50 yuan a day, I called the mayor hotline many times for help…

These are the two most sad months of my life.

Looking out the window, Junjie Wu recalled the day of blocking city
Looking out the window, Junjie Wu recalled the day of blocking city

New Year’s Eve, I slept next to the ATM

Before the Spring Festival this year, I visited my brother’s family from Inner Mongolia to Huanggang, Hubei. I had planned to go to Huangzhou with my brother’s family, and take a train from Huangzhou to return to Inner Mongolia for Chinese New Year.

My brother booked the ticket online in advance and arrived in Inner Mongolia on January 21. I couldn’t get a direct train. I planned to go from Huanggang to Wuhan first, take a train to Beijing, and then return from Beijing to Inner Mongolia.

On the 22nd, I stayed at a seven-day hotel in Wuhan and waited to go to Beijing the next day.

Ruixiang Hotel that Junjie Wu lived
Ruixiang Hotel that Junjie Wu lived

On the 23rd, as soon as I woke up, I rushed to Wuchang Railway Station, but at this time the city closure order had been issued, and the city was very congested. When I arrived at the station, the train was already running. In this way, I was stranded in Wuhan. I did not expect that the stay would be 70 days.

On the New Year’s Eve of the 24th, the seven-day hotel I stayed closed and the waiter invited all the guests out.

I dragged my suitcase and wandered around the city for a long time and couldn’t find a place to stay, so I had to sleep at the bank’s ATM for one night. Head was resting on the box, two old clothes were added to my body, and I called my parents at night to report safety. I was afraid they were worried and didn’t say that I was sleeping outside.

Food of Junjie Wu
Food of Junjie Wu

On the first day of the new year, I walked from Jianghan Road to Jiqing Street in Jiang’an District and finally found a small hotel willing to accept me, 50 yuan a night, no meals, only a kettle in the room, the bed is facing the toilet, the toilet has no door.

I had 400 yuan left at the time.

After eating the remaining box lunch, I lost 20 pounds

As soon as I checked into the hotel, I was registered on the street community and included in the daily checklist.

The doors to the shops on the street were closed, and the entire city was so disturbingly quiet, hearing ambulances whistled past the windows every day. Other than buying food, I hardly go out.

Junjie Wu's leftover cucumber
Junjie Wu’s leftover cucumber

Only a few shops are still open, but the front door is closed, open the back door secretly.

I bought eggs and instant noodles, a pack of a few cents, and found a small electric cooker. I cooked instant noodles in an electric cooker and eggs in a hotel’s kettle, almost every day.

After paying the room rate and buying instant noodles, I had little money left. Once I had vomited, I ordered meals, this is the only takeaway I ordered during the two months, so delicious!

I also bought 12 steamed bread for 20 yuan. As an Inner Mongolian person, what I miss most is this stuttering food in my hometown, but after two days of gimmicks, it broke.

On February 1st, I called the Mayor’s Hotline in Wuhan, hoping to stay in a hotel for detained people in other places. The next day, the hotline called back and registered my situation, but there were no follow-up arrangements.

A stranded girl from outside told me that if she applied for community volunteers, she could get free box lunch. I immediately petitioned the community but there was no clear response.

Outbound Purchase Certificate
Outbound Purchase Certificate

Helplessly, I called the community director and asked to eat the leftover boxed lunch, brought the cool food back to hot and ate again. If not for the desperate, who would like to have leftovers?

Fortunately, at the beginning of February, the 2,000-yuan stranded rescuer’s assistance was put down, plus the 1,000 yuan that was later reissued, the total government assistance I received was 3,000.

Junjie Wu's toiletries
Junjie Wu’s toiletries

In mid-February, I developed fever symptoms, and I initially determined that it was caused by inflammation of the gums. When the community came to do the health registration, the director did not list me as a suspected case. I locked myself in the hotel and never went out. Fortunately, my symptoms improved after taking anti-inflammatory and antipyretic drugs.

For more than two months, I lost weight from 150 to 130, due to lack of nutrition and lost a tooth.

I couldn’t afford the rent, the boss kicked me out of the hotel

Soon, the rent of Ruixiang Hotel expired. The boss took into consideration the special circumstances and only told me to make up the rent in the future. However, the arrears were long, and the hotel owner began to frequently charge for the rent, my ID was seized after no results.

I can understand the situation of the boss. He is not rich, and it is justified to owe money. But all I can do is IOU.

In front of the community where the hotel is located
In front of the community where the hotel is located

At that time, I had only 380 yuan in WeChat change, which was from a strange netizen.

The hotel owner wanted to take my mobile phone as a mortgage, so I had to transfer him 300 yuan, leaving 80 yuan for living expenses. He told me that I had to make up the rent within 2 days, or he would have to kick me out of the hotel.

In those few days, I was trembling, and in the eyes of the epidemic storm, I was very helpless and hopeless.

On March 19th, I went downstairs to ask when the staff in Wuhan could unblock and met the hotel owner again. The boss asked me if I had borrowed the money these days. I honestly answered no. I hoped to continue writing the IOU and asked him to let me live.

The boss was furious, and at 10 am he kicked me out of the hotel and community.

Calling the Mayor’s Hotline, I met good people

On the streets again, I remembered calling the mayor’s hotline, but the mobile phone owed money, stopped. I dialed 10001 to explain my situation to the telecommunication human customer service, who gave me the right to make and receive calls, which is only valid for 24 hours.

After opening the mayor’s hotline, the street called at 1 pm, and only gave me a call to another help agency. I was hungry and dragged my luggage aimlessly on the street.

The original stall was closed
The original stall was closed

Passing a big stall called “Mingming Old Brand” in Jiqing Folk Street, the boss invited me when he saw me dragging the suitcase, comforted and encouraged me, and even said, “They don’t care about you, I care!

The boss’s surname is Zhu. He made egg fried rice for me and cooked a fish. This is the best meal I’ve had since staying in Wuhan. He also bought me some bread and fruits.

The distress of life, the kindness of strangers, and the criticisms I have suffered have mixed my feelings. I never thought that I would live such a wandering and hopeless life. I regret coming to Wuhan and worrying about never going back to my hometown.

Thinking of elderly parents, I can’t help crying. My brother’s family is not rich. A few years ago, my brother was disabled by an electric shock while working in the factory. His own small home was difficult to maintain.

Waiting until 8:30 pm, a community police officer helped me coordinate with the hotel owner, who promised to let me stay. I am grateful to send a WeChat message to the staff in the community, willing to stand guard and move goods for trading a shelter.

Pedestrians in Wuhan streets
Pedestrians in Wuhan streets

Stranded people heating each other, discussing how to “escape” Wuhan

There are still many people stranded in Wuhan around us. Through Weibo and WeChat groups, everyone is sharing their sad experiences every day. Some sleep in the car for two months, some have mild depression, some have been kicked out by relatives …

I’m fairly lucky, some stranded foreigners haven’t received the bailout money.

On March 22, Wuhan announced that it would usher in the unblocking on April 8. There were more than 400 people in the “group 3 of people stranded in Wuhan” where we were no longer complaining, instead, we discussed how to “escape” Wuhan.

“Ask Wuhan if the train station can leave now?”

“I came out of Wuhan from Baiquan Toll Station in Dongxihu District!”

“The Qintai Toll Station only needs to receive the certificate or the Provincial Resumption of Work Certificate and the green code to release it, hurry up if you have a car!”

At the end of March, one after another drop out of the group. A friend who returned to his hometown smoothly took a walk through the guide, some people spontaneously set up a convoy to escort stranded people out of Wuhan.

Going back to Huanggang’s brother’s house in Hubei is the best choice. I am inquiring about the policy every day, but Huang Gang can’t accept me without proof of residence. Inner Mongolia does not accept people from Wuhan for the time being. I can only wait for Wuhan to unblock it on April 8th and try to find a way.

"Upgraded" Instant Noodles Taken by Junjie Wu
“Upgraded” Instant Noodles Taken by Wu Junjie

In the past two days, Wuhan has gradually returned to normal. Many shopping malls and breakfast shops have begun to operate, and the streets are becoming more and more lively. Some days ago, the community sent me a fish for free. I cleaned up the fish with small scissors and cooked it in a rice cooker for two meals, seemed to survive in the wilderness.

On March 29, a Wuhan friend named Jiang learned of my encounter and drove 30 kilometers to deliver instant noodles and bread, and paid me for the call.

When it’s time to get out of town, one of the things I want to do most is to eat a big steamed bread, then go back to Huanggang to find a job, and find a secure job.

(The characters involved are all pseudonyms)

Nancy Huang
Nancy Huang
I'm a journalist in Shenzhen, China. I have been working in several news agencies in China since 2008.

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