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Transfer from Hong Kong to Shenzhen

After we boarded Friday in Frankfurt for the 12 hours flight on Lufthansa to Hong Kong we arrived Saturday shortly after 3 pm. The good thing was that it was a late evening flight and one is able to find some sleep and awake in the “morning”. Of course, at the destination it was late afternoon, which then starts to feel kind of strange after the while.

Later on you won’t be able to sleep, because the body is still on European time. That made us sleep through most of Sunday. We eventually woke up by 2 pm. Just in time to get ready, find some food and meet the driver who takes us over the border to Shenzhen on the mainland.

I managed to snap a few pictures from the moving vehicle, but they are not very good. We basically only saw the road, crossed many bridges and very tall apartment buildings. The interesting thing to notice is that Hong Kong is a multitude of islands connected through bridges. Every island is some kind of mountain and most buildings have been erected very close to the water.

In a little while we will take some time to visit Hong Kong again to explore it a bit more. For now this was just a place to relax after the long flight and adapt a bit to the local timezone. We also had a European style meal in the hotel the other evening - probably the last one in quite some time.

On the way to the mainland one checks out at the Hong Kong side where your passports gets looked at thoroughly and multiple cameras observe everything. The office doing the inspection sits inside something like a toll booth between the lanes of the highway.

After that you reach the actual border. It is a real border with the whole area closed off, barb wire on top of the fence, many signs, some officers do nothing but look at the movement of vehicles and so on.

We decided to use a cross-border limousine service. They use minivans for that and that was a wise choice, because we were traveling with 5 pieces of luggage. There were many other minivans of the same type - so it appears to be quite a common form of cross-border transport. We were allowed to sit in the car while the driver took our passports to the window where the officer checked our paperwork. You get looked at briefly to match your picture ID with your actual face and that’s about it. The driver gets in and after turning the corner you are in China.

About half an hour later we arrived at our destination, where we were greeted by our contact person and checked into the hotel. Next, we made our first “inside China” experience.

No rice in China

By now it was past regular dinner time and our Chinese friend took us across the street to a small eatery. It was a place where many families eat and you can see the food as you order. Chinese don’t order a specific dish but instead take a small plate of that, another small plate of this, and then everything is shared at the table. So we tried to find two things of something that looked familiar and expected to receive a bowl of rice as well.

Well… It turned out that they were out of rice!

Our friend started to talk fast to several of the employees. After a minute she told us “let’s go” and we were heading for the door after the two plates with food were given back to the cooks behind the counter. As soon as we were heading out things changed and it appeared that someone told our friend that there might be rice somewhere. So we turned out, were told to have a seat at a table where chopsticks and tea were waiting. Some more fast talking in Chinese started and after two minutes or so we were told “let’s go” again. On the way out another employee showed up, dressed differently and probably a supervisor, and there was more fast talking. We watched and after a third time “let’s go” we passed the door and were on the street again.

Pizza Hut to the rescue

Around the corner there was a Pizza Hut. We went in, as it seemed to be the best alternative. I wasn’t expecting that kind of Pizza Hut. Unlike the Pizza Hut restaurants I’ve been to in the US, this one was quite luxurious and served much more than just pizza. The menu with lots of pictures had a lot of local looking dishes. We still decided on pizza and some fruit juices, which were very good. The check turned out as 186 RMB, which seems pricy. The other patrons, as was my impression, were enjoying the place as some kind of place to take the special someone to but there were also a few families on a late Sunday dinner.

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