Archive for February, 2008|Monthly archive page

china travels

I’ve been to mainland China for three trips now but have yet posted a word about the experience.  I hope to pick it back up starting now with an overall summary.

My first trip into China was a three day trip in Guangdong province.  I was a guest at my friend Frankie’s apartment in a place called Shunde.  I went with him and another friend, Yilong.  We entered China by taking the Hong Kong KCR train to the border at Luohu station.  The city at the border is called Shenzhen, which is a great big bustling city next to Hong Kong.  From there, we took a bus to Shunde.  There at Shunde, it is common to take the taxi to get around, and the buses are also quite cheap.  We left Frankie in Shunde after the second day for Zhuhai on our way to meet another friend, Andy, at Macau, but Yilong couldn’t get in with a mainland passport.  At that point we were just about out of money, so we had Andy cross over and give Yilong enough to get back to Hong Kong.  I finished the trip with Andy and spent the evening in Macau, finally going back to Hong Kong a few hours after midnight.

The second trip would take me to the city of Wuhan in Hubei province.  My friend Qingfang invited me there and had a friend, Jesse, help me to get there.  Again, we would go through Shenzhen, this time taking a flight to Changsha in Hunan province.  His car is parked there and we would drive for a few hours to Wuhan.  I stayed in Wuhan for about a week before taking the train back to Shenzhen with the help of a few good newly acquainted friends I’d met in Wuhan.

The third and most recent trip was a four day visit to Shanghai.  I, along with Andy and new friend, Trevor, went to visit my friend Jason, whose house we stayed at, and many other good Shanghainese friends I’d met in my first semester at CUHK.  This trip was potentially complicated since we’d booked one way tickets with the hope of finding some train tickets back as a combination of unusually bad weather and a busy Chinese new year made it hard to book anything in advance, but thankfully Andy was able to find some cheap flights back to Shenzhen, which we immediately booked.

I came back to Hong Kong from each trip with a few recurring thoughts:

  1. I’d have a tough time taking care of myself if I were really by myself in mainland without a helping friend.  I dare say I could manage with what Chinese I do have, but (1) it would be very troublesome and (2) I would be missing out on things I would completely overlook without a guide to point out.  Even more is that I feel like I’d been on a great journey when none of the trips lasted more than a week.
  2. Life is good in Hong Kong.  Transportation has been an issue to some degree in each of the trips.  I was afraid I would even get on the bus on the last night of 2007 in Wuhan because there were so many people fighting to get onto the few buses that came around.
  3. People make the experience in mainland.  This mainly applies to the big cities that I’ve been to.  I’ve certainly never seen the huge buildings and extra wide expressways of a metro like Shanghai, but it feels like a big commercial center and I have seen enough of it.  Having a chat with my friend on the bus in Wuhan or watching a quarrel go down in Shanghai is a lot more appealing to me.

More posts and pictures to come (hopefully before the next month comes!)