Monday, May 30, 2011
The trip from Hong Kong back to China took us by train to a border city where we could pick up another train back to our city. We arrived at the station along with hundreds of others only to find out that hundreds more were also waiting. We were corralled into a huge vacant lot. After we finally figured out where to buy the tickets, Frank left me with all of our luggage to go get them.
Suddenly, I was surrounded by about 8 rough looking men. They moved in close and started firing questions at me. Where are you going, why? Oh, that doesn't leave till 9pm, you'll never get a ticket. What are you doing there? How long have you lived there? Where are you from, how old are you? That's a lot of luggage for one person, you waiting on a friend? At first I was scared. I found myself backed up against a temporary barrier and there were two guys behind that arms length from my backpack. Then I started firing questions back at them and making them guess the answers to their questions. As fast as they shot one at me, I fired back, mimicking their very forward, in my face body language and their abrupt manner, but with a smile. I made it clear I was waiting for my husband and he would be back very soon. I held my own, grateful for the ability to speak the language well enough, meanwhile, keeping my eye on the guy perched over my right shoulder and the two in arms reach behind me. Once they realized I could speak Chinese and even understand what they were saying to each other, everything changed. The men visibly relaxed and I felt the level of danger drop and change to a spirit of camaraderie. One of the older guys even warned me about his buddy the xiao tou 小偷 (thief) perched over my shoulder. Then they started arguing about the war between China and Japan and totally lost me. Thankfully, Frank showed up a few minutes later and rescued me. My den of thieves wished us well and pointed us in the direction of a KFC where we could sit out the remaining 3 hours before departure.
The whole experience was only about 15 minutes long but the amount of adrenaline that coursed through my system made it feel like an eternity pinned down, with too many bags to run.
"Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it."
Gilbert K. Chesterton
Saturday, May 28, 2011
After months of anxious anticipation we obtained the long awaited work visas. 24 hours later, it was canceled out as we passed through customs. The single entry visa got us into the country and now we have to wait for for our passports to go through another office to get the real one year multi-entry work visa. Then and only then will the visa adventure be over. What a ride!