Don't take travelling for granted
Trip Start Sep 30, 2005
88Trip End Jun 04, 2006
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It went something like this:
· I thought I could change my ticket at Taipei airport, but I couldn't because the queues were longer than a Rip van Winkle dream so I ended up waiting around for another 90 minutes in Taipei.
· When I got to Hong Kong I saw the signs for the ferry to mainland China as I went to get my bag, but not having done my homework I then found out that you can only take the ferry from airside at the airport to mainland China.
· I jumped on the airport link to Central and wandered down to the main Hong Kong Island ferry terminal where I found that you can't take boats up the Pearl River.
· Where to go I asked? Take a taxi to the China-Macau Ferry Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui, the ferry's at 2pm I was told. Bad move on a Saturday, the Hong Kong traffic was shocking and I'd have been better to walk to the Star Ferry. By the time we came out of the cross-harbour tunnel, my ferry was gone.
· Ok, take me to the KCR terminal in Mongkok I asked the driver. Now, at least I was on familiar territory having taken the KCR route to the mainland many times....
· On Saturday afternoon, the Lo Wu border crossing was rammed. It was more like a cattle market than a border crossing. It was frightening at times, not least when they closed the Chinese side for a while to ease the congestion which meant that I found myself stuck on a bridge with what felt like half of Hong Kong pushing to get into China.
· Finally, Shenzhen...A grotty place around the Lo Wu border, but things were getting better, there was a bus for Humen waiting for me.
· In Humen, I avoided the bus station pickpockets met Joy and took the easy option of a taxi to Dongguan where the cold beer in Jason's bar was more than welcome. Things were getting better after the hassles of the day.
What should have taken me about 5 hours had taken 11 and I was fried. If only I'd been a good backpacker and looked at the guide book, I'd have been told how to do things. I was fairly cocksure of myself and had a go at trying something different. All day I'd been standing in queues and chasing shadows knowing it was my fault, but actually, just this once, it had been a lot more interesting and worthwhile than being a good backpacker. Do it yourself travel is worth it and it's better to have your head out of the book and seeing what's around you.