Last Friday I finally met my official contact here in
On Saturday I decided to take the weekend to visit
I've always been under the impression that Hong Kong was just one island off the coast of southern
The first step in my journey was to take a taxi from Shenzhen to the
Mr. Xu had told me that I would be able to get another taxi to my hostel once I was in
"Do you take Yuan?" I asked. He shook his head "no".
"Where can I get Hong Kong Dollars?"
The man pointed off to the side, where I had been looking for taxis. I wandered back to that end of the line of buses but saw no bank or ATM. I approached a woman in charge of tearing bus tickets and, with a ten Yuan note in my hand, asked where I could get
"No, no" I said and motioned for the man to put his change back. "I need to buy a ticket."
"They can take yuan," the woman replied and she pointed to the vendor windows.
So back to the vendor I went, except his time I just pulled out 100 Yuan and handed it to him. No problem this time.
I settled down in the back of the bus, excited at the thought of a long bus ride through the
The bus station in Mong Kok is along
Just how much of an awakening this was for me can be expressed by the fact that I noticed this difference between Hong Kong and mainland
The third thing I noticed about the city was the prevalence of western businesses. While KFC has become quite a staple of my diet since arriving in Shenzhen (being the only alternative to Chinese food I know of), I have not seen here a single McDonalds or Starbucks (to my continual dismay, if to the benefit of my health). Naturally, my first excursion in
It’s not so much that I’d never noticed that mainland
It took me a long time to figure out exactly what it was about
There could certainly be other explanations as to why I felt this way about the city: I didn’t have a guide, I was staying at a hostel, the city was in the middle of a shopping festival right. Yet, even as I traveled alone and stayed in the hostels of other cities of the world where shopping was popular, I never felt the void of identity that I felt in
I think this feeling can be linked to the role that Hong Kong played for
I spent Saturday night wandering around the markets of
and I got up early on Sunday to see
Around six I decided to head back to Shenzhen and so returned to my hostel. I hauled my luggage back along the crowded sidewalks to the bus station, purchased a ticket and took a seat in the back. I waited in line to exit Hong Kong and found my bus to take me to the entry border to
“Your visa is expired,” he informed me.
“You have only one entry on this visa. You must return to
I had only received a single-entry visa to enter
One of the first things Mr. Xu did for me when I arrived in Shenzhen was to print out for me an information sheet in Chinese explaining my situation as an intern, the address of the office, and his phone numbers. If I got lost somewhere or needed help, I could then show the paper to a taxi driver or someone on the street to get assistance. Now I pleaded with the border worker to call Mr. Xu, not so much in the hopes of being able to return, but so he would know why I wasn’t going to be at the teacher training on Monday morning. The man took my paper and directed me to a different office and officer on the exiting side of the border. There I waited for another few minutes before the new officer returned my passport and paper and sent me on my way.
“You go back to
Back on the Mong Kok bus, back in line to enter
My last day in
Hope you’re all enjoying your July. I’ll try to write more tomorrow. -joe