Another side note: i was this guy the whole flight.
Anyway. Arrived ok. Got my bags. Got on the airport subway express (used wallet) and headed back home. Yet another side note: the airport subway is awesome and comfortable. Always.
So. Arrived at Dongzhimen. Gathered up stuff/self. Tried to leave subway. Realize i don't have my wallet. Freak out.
Fly down the escalator and manage to get back aboard the same train, now bound for the airport. Drop things. Frantically search every possible location. Ask everyone if they found it. Nothing. Dispair sets in.
Get off train. Call ace, try not to weep from fatigue. Change trains, head back to Dongzhimen. Endure longest 7 minute subway ride imaginable in luxurious, air-conditioned airport subway car. Ask the nearest Subway Helper-Dude if he's seen a wallet. He hasn't. Glimmer of hope when he goes to ask someone else. SHD disappears. Alone. Waiting. Sweaty, filthy, exhausted, mentally drained.
SHD reappears, maid-lady in tow. She beckons for me, i go, reluctantly, asking in wild-eyed Chinese, "you have it? you have it?" She says she does. I only half believe. Can't allow myself to be crushed again.
And then, back in the little office, i sign the forms that return my wallet to me. It had been found by one of the workers in the car. They wouldn't tell me who. All the money still in there, the equivalent of $200 USD. It would be small fortune for a woman who works as a subway maid, but she wouldn't even get the reward if i gave one to her. She'd have to offer it up to her supervisor.
It can be trying to accept all the people who want to rip off a foreigner, but moments like these remind you there are good people, everywhere. And those good people are awesome enough to make the bad ones seem insignificant.
I think i just fell in love with Beijing again.