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Published: March 25th 2011
Views from the bus
This week has been an adventure!
Not that living in China isn't an adventure, but when you're working it's easy to become bogged down by routine. Teach, plan, eat, teach, plan, eat, explore, teach, teach, plan, eat.
On Sunday afternoon I travelled back to Hangzhou and met with some people I know, where we began our visa trip to Hong Kong. I arrived at the hotel after about an hour at the company receiving my itinerary and directions to the airport shuttlebus. Then it was a really good long catch up chat with Michelle, dinner with her and another foreign teacher and an early night! Sod's law gave me the most hellish migraine resulting in my not so great company. However, I awoke refreshed and excited at 4.30am as we got the bus to the airport.
Day one began with energy and excitement, and followed with confusion and contentment. The flight and airport were fab but once we arrived at Shenzen
we had no idea what we were doing. We managed after much deliberation to get to the border crossing into Hong Kong and most of the morning seemed to be queing in lines, checking passports and filling
Views from the bus
out paperwork. We crossed the border and boarded our bus where we arrived in Hong Kong in the midst of tropical sun.
I felt both strangely unnerved and calmed by the fact we were driving on the left side of the road and by the very subtle air of colonialism at every glance. It's not something you would notice coming straight from England, but after a little over a month of nothing but Chinese you really pick up on the differences, even the subtle ones.
Hong Kong is an immense hustle of islands, harbours, ports and people. Whilst on the bus meandering our way over bridges and along the coast it makes me wonder what Liverpool was like during the peak of its popularity. Was it filled with foreigners the way Hong Kong was. Was it's docklands littered with crates of import/export, did carts line the ports like the articulated lorries in Hong Kong. When the sun shone did it ricochet of the murky waters of the Mersey, the way it glances off the blue-green waters of Victoria Harbour.
The soft winds bring a sweet scent of salt water, open, endless oceans and immediately something in me
More views from the bus
relaxes. It's funny no matter where I am in the world I'm immediately more comfortable if I'm near the ocean and the soft sea breeze is soothing, whether it be Scarborough, New Brighton, Whitby or Hong Kong. I am, at that moment in time, insanely happy.
However, we are not there for play (maybe a little later), we have busines to attend to, visas to apply for and we make our way to the Visa office to find it isn't open til 2 and there is already a small queue forming and patiently waiting for the Visa office to open its doors. One of our number stayed in the queue whilst we left in the search for currency exchange, bathrooms and food. After food and what more form filling queueing, waiting, we had handed over our passports and were on the hunt for our hotel.
Unfortunately, the company being the most organised place in China gave us no directions to the hotel and after what seemed like hours of deliberation, lifts, and impatience we checked ourselves into a different hotel, with a fabulous view of part of the harbour and Nathan Rd. It was then quick dump stuff
It's sooooo big
and get back outside to enjoy the sights, sunshine and fresh sea air. At the visa office we'd met a fellow traveller who was kind enough to take us all under his wing and he'd helped us find our hotel, took us on the ferry across Victoria Harbour and then acted as our tourguide, showing us the best place to see the Harbour etc. We would of been seriously lost without him and there aren't enough thankyou's in the world!
We spent the afternoon on Victoria Harbour, enjoying each others company and a few beers in the tropic heat. In my opinion Victoria Harbour has some of the most spectacular skyline views, ultra modern high rise officeblocks, skyscrapers, theatres juxtaposed against glistening blue waters and luscious green mountains. Just pure heaven. We sat there and watched the mists roll in as the sun set lazily over our blissful day. After a quick stretch of legs something to eat (and for me, the discovery of Aprils UK Cosmo, I know I was over the moon) we wandered back to where we had sat. Now there were hundreds of people, all waiting, mostly quiet and watching the skyline with murmering anticipation.
Then the music begins and the light show dazes everybody into a hushed excitement and awe. I have no photos of this and to be honest if I had taken some it would have completely ruined the experience, I was completely absorbed in the moment and the spectacular show that is a guinness world record! It's one of those things that amazes you so much you can only see it for yourself to truly enjoy it!
After the light show and more nattering, we wandered up towards our hotel in search of some grub, where we found a lovely little sidestreet restaurant with yummy cheap food. I've truly got the hang of eating chinese style, it's quick and almost like a hoover. I'm so hungry that I wolf it down, a couple at a table opposite send approving glances at my vastly improved chopstick skills. After food it was hotel and bed and seeing as I'd been up so early all I wanted to do was read Cosmo check my email and go to sleep.
We arranged to meet everybody at 10am the following day, however Michelle and I were up so early that we decided coffee
Somewhere on the Harbour
and a walk was the best way to start all day. We grabbed a coffee from McDonalds and wandered over to the harbour, where we basked and nattered in heat of the early morning sun. We where chattering away when we hear 'you two are angels from los angeles' and look up to see an elderly chinese man. He is kind and gracious and speaks knowledgably of Canadian and British politics. He tells us of his old business and his retirement and flatters us with compliments, he comments wisely 'too much humility is disability'. A phrase he made up himself and which he tells us he lives by, and as suddenly as he arrives he dissappears again and I'm blown over by the gentleness and jovialty and quick wit of this kind stranger!
The rest of the my short stay seems dull in comparison to those first few hours of that day, and the day before, so I shall not write too much. Except for the fact that we picked up our visas and said goodbye to Hong Kong, for me it was with a heavy heart
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