Last week I flew into Hong Kong.
Never take a 16 hour flight/always take a 16 hour flight.
Reason: Grueling, positively grueling, even the unlimited Courvoisier I was able to drink for free would not put me to sleep. Even the seats that were empty next to me were not enough to have me rest.
Other Reason: Always take a 16 hour flight, you never have to have any layovers and you get to your destination straightaway.
As soon as I landed it was a whirlwind. I retrieved my bags, bought a sky limo made contact with David through the kindness of a Hong Konger’s cell phone through broken –Chinese/English/Cantonese finagling.
There we were, two other foreigners, myself, and two Chinese people in the sky limo to Shenzhen. We see this climbing smoke, more and more and more. I thought it was clouds at first. We soon realized something was exploding, as if it were an every day occurrence and not a big deal. This was actually explosive, on going fire!
Arrival in Shenzhen. I arrived at a super nice hotel, the sky limo went through customs for me which was a relief so all I had to do was relax at a ritzy hotel and have the hotel concierge help me, which they did and were so nice. Finally David found me, greeted me with 9 roses, and took me home to which I found after 24 hours of travel and no sleep was::
It was extremely nice to come home to this and to relax and not have anymore worries about traveling, getting to China, visas, NOTHING.
That was Thursday.
Friday I went to my school checked in, saw my living accommodations. Found the closest metro to me–only a 10 minute walk or less. ETC. My area is much nicer than slum village. I probably won’t be spending as much time here and getting to know the area like I did Longhua. Simply because I live on campus, the school closes down on Friday afternoon and doesn’t open up until Monday morning. It’s a dead zone on the weekends. So I will be in Dafen or with friends on the weekends.
Saturday my old contact teacher Annie had David and I over for lunch. She is two months pregnant and cuter than ever. I was so happy to see her smiling face greet us. She kept almost all my things for me which was extremely kind of her. I showered her with tons of gifts and fruit. We had a really nice lunch that her father cooked, then booked it in a taxi to Xixiang with two of my bags, not all of my bags, which I will need to get tomorrow.
After hauling the two heaviest up 5 flights of stairs to the 5th floor David said we are going to meet his Buddhist friends for a chat and then have supper. I was exhausted and grumpy and through a fit. Finally I said okay and off we went.
There we were somewhere in Bao’an…looked extremely ghetto and super dumpy. I had no idea what to expect. I was tired and not even hungry. His friend, Fang li, greeted us and immediately I loved her. She looks like a Chinese Reese Witherspoon to me. She’s always joking, smiling, and making fun of David, almost like an older sister. So she took us to her home which again the door outside looked like we were entering a dungeon ghetto cave. We climb about 6 flights of stairs to what’s a gorgeous penthouse!
Wooden floors, beautiful cedar paneling, a western toilet a BATHTUB with stairs up to it! She even had an OVEN, which NOBODY has an oven in China. The best part was the temple though the altar for Buddha. It was a beautiful almost all wooden room with sweet incense burning an altar for Buddha, straw mats to sit on and hardcore air conditioning. She poured us delicious black oolong tea that tasted like a brick oven, my favorite, and we sat and basked in the cool air, and feeling of peace in her temple.
We talked for an hour and they were so nice to me. Fang li made her adorable daughter do tai qi for us and her friend spoke beautiful Mandarin to me. Then they said okay we are going to a friend’s house for a vegetarian dinner.
We arrived at the other friend’s house and they were so welcoming and sweet and the smells rising from the kitchen were too much. I was so excited to only eat vegetables. Chinese people DEFINITELY know how to be vegetarian and cook vegetarian/vegan.
Needless to say I was happy and no longer tired. There’s more to come but for now..