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Published: November 9th 2011
Sudbury Bus Terminal
the first photo of the journey
With this final entry before leaving Canada, I sit here at the Sudbury Bus Terminal waiting anxiously waiting for the bus to take me to Toronto, then from there to Pearson International Airport, Terminal 3 to get my flight from Canada to Beijing then from there To Guangzhou, China. I am filled with a certain level of nervousness, given that I have always been somewhat nervous of the actual take off and landing of the aircraft. This being no exception given that it is Hainan Airlines, a Chinese airliner company that I am taking to my destination for one part of my flight. I have always been somewhat apprehensive of flying on them, can’t explain why, I just am.
I am taking in the sites, sounds, and smells of all that is around me knowing that it will be one of the last experiences I will have in this country of mine. The city of my birth, the memories I have had while in this city are too numerous to mention. From the day I rode into town with my Aunt and seeing my mother for the first time in close to 4 years, to seeing all my old friends, co
Sudbury bus terminal
picture 2 of the Sudbury bus terminal
workers and former teachers at my old college. I have told many stories of my first adventure in the land of China. Stories of love and lost a journey of discovery and understanding. There were times during my stay where I was tempted of actually staying in the city, but even I noticed that my attitude had changed, from one of happiness to one of disgust and moodiness. This change was not lost on my friends and family they had convinced me to actively return to where I was happy. Although, I was nervous I knew where I had to be. As I mentioned in previous blogs I felt more at home in China then I ever did in Sudbury or even in Canada. Even though Sudbury is always going to be my hometown and Canada being my home nation being away for so long has given me a new perception on life and on the world.
I arrived in Toronto at about 6 am from there I proceeded to take the subway from the Dundas station to the Bloor-Younge station then switched trains to head west I believe to the Kipling station (end of the line) and boarded the
sole transit to take me to the airport. I was obviously far earlier then I anticipated for my departure but was not about to complain. I had my last Tim Hortons coffee and hot chocolate for the foreseeable future. As I partook in the last heavenly delight of the coffee and hot chocolate I started writing this blog, waiting in anticipation of the up coming travel back to the country I fell in love with. As the minutes turned into hours each tick of the clock brought me that much closer to my ultimate destination. Nerves started building when I actually checked in and went through security both with no hassles aside from a few jokes tossed between me and the security personnel, I proceeded to the gate that was on the boarding pass and sat quietly, knowing that only part of my ritual would be completed here in Canada, that I would have to wait until I had gotten to Beijing to complete the ritual of having a strawberry Sunday from either KFC or McDonalds to make it feel complete.
Time seemed to slow down once I was there waiting for my turn to board the plane, my thoughts
turned eventually to those I had left behind the ones that showed kindness, giving me a place to lay my head, although many times I may have caused stress to those they still showed kindness and a ear for listening. But time, my friend showed to be true, that my heart and soul belonged to the far-east. I heard on the loud speaker that it was my turn now to board, I moved slowly each step I took I felt both joy and sadness. Joy for returning to a home I had found, a place where I truly felt I belonged. Sadness for those behind hoping that one day that they could see what I see, experience the same things I had in my first journey here, the amazement of it all. Instead of hearing the stories, seeing the photos of my travels, living it vigorously through my own shutterbug eyes, but there is something to say about experiencing life especially this kind of life you. In the same aspect that a few of my friends back home say they are jealous of me for doing this, I must admit the same level of jealousy for them. For they, have
view from the apartment
as evening descends upon my first evening in Dongguan
something I do not have. Families, two of my closest and dearest friends are now married and have children. The third is engaged. For each I would surmise have the good strong aspects and pitfalls.
I finally boarded the flight and placed my backpack in the overhead compartment and waited for the flight to take off and it did take off rather uneventful I might add. The flight itself was normal as any other, given I was seated by the emergency exit, I knew full well if there was any emergency that I would be called upon to perform that particular task of opening the door and helping my fellow passengers to safety. For those who know me well enough would know that it would place me in a conundrum, do it and be a hero, or don’t do it for my own amusement. But chances are that I would have done my duty risking my own life to make sure others were brought to safety. I was sleeping for a good part of the flight, when I was actually awake I listened to my mp5 player, being that my own personal TV that was attached to my seat was
not functioning. The meals were, well anyone that has ever had a plane ride knows what airplane food is like, this being no better or no worse then the rest of the airplane food. Trust me I had my share of plane food especially Asian airplane food. So the flight was rather uneventful, the most exciting thing was the turbulence but aside from that not that much happened. So we eventually landed in Beijing, I went through the normal security checks and gather my luggage, to find out that there are no longer any smoking rooms left at the Peking airport. Just an FYI for those whom plan on flying through Peking airport (that’s the name of the airport in Beijing). I got through customs with relative ease to my surprise as everywhere I looked I was greeted with smiles from those who I passed by, that is until I realized that I too was smiling right back at them. That I felt a wave of ease wash over me, an ease that I had not felt since the day I had been here last. I finally felt I was home, as the old saying goes “home is where the heart
is” and this was where my heart was. That it had always been here. Not physically here mind you, but it took me about an hour of silent contemplation and a strawberry sundae from KFC to get my thoughts in proper order.
After awhile of puttering around that terminal I eventually took my time to proceed to the next terminal, I could have taken the airport shuttle or walked. I decided to walk the length to, in some way, re-acclimatize myself to living now in China to get my mind and thoughts in order. Knowing the next morning I would be landing in Guangzhou and starting my life again in a new city. With a phone card in hand I went walking look around at the fog filled terminal, it felt right. Both the terminal and my mind were fogged over, and slowly starting to clear up. Things started to seem more clearly. The person at the information desk It was about a 10 minute walk from terminal 3 to terminal 2 where my domestic flight was to depart the following morning. There were few people at the next terminal which was fine with me. The time passes slowly
First Photo in Beijing
My First Photo upon arrival in Beijing
like the grains through the hourglass. I did some writing of this particular article and dozed off several times throughout the night; I also charged my PSP and played it for a bit.
As the night wore on and slowly changed into morning, I witnessed my first Chinese sunrise in almost 4 months. A wondrous sight it was to behold, it was like being able to see clearly for the first time in ages. It was refreshing not only to the eyes but to the soul. I knew the last leg of my journey was still to come, and it was fast approaching. Even now as I stand overlooking my new home I still remember the last moments leading up to the flight from Beijing to Guangzhou and eventually the car ride to Dongguan. I sat down in the waiting area where I sat for most of the evening and looked around seeing people slowly arriving for their own journeys to parts unknown I began to wonder what they felt was it just a flight for business or going to see the person they love the most, or was it for the elderly seeing their new grandchild that was born
a few days before. The thoughts of those that passed by were too endless to count. Time was slowly beginning to creep faster towards the time where I had to check in and go thought yet another security check point. I was not worried at all, for I knew what to expect, nothing at all changed in this regard since my last time through it going to Shanghai from Wuhan. I slowly walked up to the check in counter handed over my passport placing my luggage on the conveyor belt, for them to weigh, a total of 17.5 kg, not much consider most of it were clothes and a few electronics. Once I checked in and saw my luggage off, all that was left was me and my trusty backpack which held my computer and some cloths. I stepped outside for one final smoke before going through the security check point. Once done I proceeded to the final leg of the journey prepared for whatever came my way. I went through the check point with no problems repacked my electronics and proceed to the gate in which my flight was to depart from, and slowly waited. I was one of
the first ones there plugging in my computer to continue my writing of this blog, adding a few additional paragraphs and dozed off for about an hour. When I awoke I noticed a lot more people had arrived at the gate, my hopes that this flight would have a few people were quickly dashed, it was a full load of passengers, mostly Asian, but peppered in the midst of the Asian mostly Chinese, where travel weary foreigners who caught slept where ever they could. From the obviously uncomfortable chairs like myself to the elongated windowsill and to even the floors which where cleaned on a regular basis. For those people that caught a catnap on the floor and by the window were asked to move due to cleaning or some other reason, they happily complied. 20 minutes to go now everyone was starting to line up to walk that last 100 meters to the plane and eventually Gaungzhou. That 100 meters felt more like a mile to me, knowing that in a few hours I would meet someone from the school and eventually my final destination. That I was a few hours away from my final destination and my new
life. That I was about to obtain what I had sought for the past few months. That I had not given up. I got into the plane and found my seat putting my bag in the over head compartment like so many times before. I sat down and dosed off as the plane was being toed to the tarmac, and the stewardess and the steward where explain the customary thing of where the emergency exits were and to buckle up. By the time I awoke again we were in the air, I asked the steward how long we were in the air for, he replied in a pleasant tone only about 20 minutes but I was asleep for about 40 minutes, basically within a minute or two of me sitting down and buckling up that I had fallen asleep. So during the flight I caught got sleep when I could, but with the babies that were aboard yelling and the person behind me kicking my chair from time to time sleep was elusive. My thoughts often drifted to the future I would have here the wonders. Before I knew we were on the approach into Gaungzhou, we eventually landed and
taxied to an area where we disembarked it was unlike Beijing where we boarded the plane via “a finger” or a gate corridor; here we got off the plane and boarded a bus to the actual terminal itself. Aboard the bus to the terminal I began to feel more like myself although I was not the only foreigner aboard this bus, the rest to parts unknown. We approached the terminal it pulled to the right then turning to the left turning around so that the doors of the bus were facing the doors of the terminal we disembarked the bus slowly making our way inside and towards our luggage, gaining our luggage one last time for most of us then proceeding out the doors where we had to show our luggage tag so that the person checking it knew we had the baggage we were meant to have. I emerged walked down to isle, I felt for all intensive purposes a bride on the wedding day. Looking around to see a sign with my name on it. About half way down the isle to the outside, and only 2 hours from home now by rented car and rented driver, I
see a skinny person with long oval face beside him a young lady whom I thought was his girlfriend or wife which I later learned was another person that worked at the training center that I would be employed at, holding a sign with my name on it and the name of the school. I smiled slightly and nodded, the gentleman pointed at me and then the sign to make sure that it was indeed me and I nodded and gave reassured smile. I heard the person say to his companion that “It’s him” I saw them move back slightly as I walked past and eventually out of the exit line. I proceeded to look around as they came forward to make sure it was indeed me that they were looking for, I replied that it is me indeed. I continued to scan the throngs of people for the other person I was meant to see there a long time friend. I asked the person if I could burrow his phone to make a call a local call to assure him that I was not about to phone internationally. The friend had answered and she had arrived at the wrong
terminal to await my arrival and would be there shortly. So we waited outside waiting I had my first smoke since landing in this new city. I looked around seeing women, older women selling things outside the gates like newspapers and cigarette lighters I bought neither. About 10 minutes later my friend had arrived bringing with her the small thing I had asked her to bring some deodorant which I had forgotten in Sudbury, the one thing which I had forgot to pack which was in many ways important. My friend and myself spoke for about 10 to 15 minutes before the person that had been dispatched to pick me up at the airport said that we had to leave for the final leg of my trip Giving my friend one final embrace and a smile I departed for the car which was to drive me to my new home for the next year if not more. We proceeded across the one half of the street to where the car was waiting. The driver waiting patiently to put my big luggage in the truck and the rest go into the car and drove off. For the next few hours we
drove the highway passing a few toll booths, during this last leg of the voyage I sporadically dozed off for minutes at a time. Slowly looking at the passing signings and the foliage from off the highway which was as green as Canada, but for some reason to me was greener and brighter then ever before. It was calming on my nervous for up to this point was one the edge of collapsing in on itself. I noticed the sign noting the exit for the destination, so I knew we were entering the last mile or so of this trip. The driver dropped off the person that picked me up, saying that the driver would drop me off where I lived so I can drop my stuff there and then proceed for a bit to eat with both the driver and him. So we approach the secured entrance of the garden where I am to live. Keep in mind that all the places are secured entrances, its mostly for the peace of mind and safety or its residents. We roll up to the gate of my new home, the driver started to talk to the guard at the gate, after
a few moments we were allowed entrance. We slowly made our way to the building where I would be spending the next year living. We got into the building and proceeded to the 12th floor of the building exiting the elevator turning right facing the door of the apartment unknown what to expect, my nerves reaching a new high as the driver placed the key into the door turning it unlocking the door and slowly opening it. With the door now opened I saw a nice lavish apartment, the normal things one would find in an apartment. Sitting on the couch was the roommate I would spend time with in the apartment. I was shown my room setting my belongings in the room freshened up a bit. We introduced each other, a nice man of Indian decent living in England since an early age. I left my luggage in my room and left the apartment for lunch with the driver and the individual that picked me up, with lunch underway an a banter of small talk. I returned slowly to the apartment know that the following day I would be brought into the office to meet the director of studies
and other members of the staff. With me returning back I slowly unloaded the proper things I needed to, and took a shower changed into some clean clothes. Standing on the balcony over looking my new home, I finally felt a certain level of peace, at home. With a sigh of relieve I butted out my smoke and went to bed quickly falling into a deep and sound sleep until the next morning. I was at home.
Although, it is a new city and a new experience for me, I relish the moments I have had and will have in this city and this new found adoptive country I call home. Stay tuned my loyal readers, there are more exciting adventures to come. For that I am certain, as certain as I am that the sun will set for another day. Until then my friends unknown, peace be with you, and may happiness fill your hearts and only kind words spill from your lips.
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