Friday, February 16, 2007

The trail to Bao'an

Our flight took a bit longer than it should have. After an hour in the air of a three-hour flight, the pilot announced (in Thai, Chinese, and English) there was a problem and said we’d have to return to Bangkok. I was confused, it couldn’t be what I thought I heard through the mumbling announcement, but the stewardess confirmed it. I really thought another airport must be closer than Bangkok. We were wisked by bus to the next plane that would take us to our destination--and we could've walked to the plane faster than the bus took.

On the ground in Macau we breezed through airport customs and were swept by the bus to the Zhuhai crossing--it was nice to be back where things tend to run on time. It was quick on the Macau side, but the China side of customs was a mess. The lines were out the door. It took an hour and a half to get through the foreigner line. Jia was through a good half hour before me. My line’s customs officer was a little slow to say the least. She took her sweet time examining all the passports and all the pages in them. She checked my photo four times. She flipped through every page and even tried to read the page that states, “These pages were added…” We were all convinced that she didn't know any English because she didn't seem to say a word to anyone who passed through. It wasn't all bad as I made a couple friends in line as I talked with a Kiwi and a Dane. The Kiwi sold race horses to wealthy Chinese for the tracks in Hong Kong. I'm not sure what the Dane did, but he had some stories of traveling through many former Soviet republics. He also recommended that I travel to Mongolia. I told him he should try Chiang Mai, Thailand.

We managed to catch the last ferry to Shekou at 8:30. We got to the port a little after 8. I noticed it was windy when we landed in Macau, but the water reaffirmed that view. The boat rocked in port. I was wondering if I should grab a life jacket as we hit some hard waves and swayed significantly to the sides. I was reminded of the line from Ulysses “Puking overboard to feed the fishes.” And I was lucky my stomach had been empty for several hours. By the time we arrived at the port in Shekou, we decided it’d be faster to just grab a taxi back to home. It sure was faster at 120 km/h with the speed limit set at 60. We made record time with about 30 min on the road.

It all felt good to relax and sleep in my own bed after 12 days of travel. My tired eyes looked about my surroundings and I thought how nice it'd be if we could find jobs and live in Chiang Mai.

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