Friday, August 29, 2008

Visa Trouble = Vacation

So last you heard, we were going to make our way to Mongolia to refresh our visas. However, that didn't work out. For one, you can't buy a round trip train ticket, and no one knows the price of the return trip, so that was all up in the air. Also, apparently in Mongolia they can't exchange RMB, so we'd have to change all our money back into USD before we crossed the border. That just blows my mind. Neighboring countries won't exchange each other's money so you have to convert to USD?? I hate to be a pessimist, but these days, the USD isn't exactly the most stable currency...there were a few other reasons, but finally we decided to try our luck with something else.

We finally found some cheap tickets from Beijing to Shenzhen, the southern border city between the mainland and Hong Kong. I'd been to Shenzhen a few times before (it's a land of cheap day spas, knockoffs, strange amusement parks, and factories) and enjoyed it, but the real draw is the hour train over to Hong Kong which counts for refreshing our visas.

Our cheap tickets ended up hooking us up with an adventure. Our flight was supposed to leave Beijing at 9 pm, arrive in Shanghai at 11 pm, and then we had a layover until 8 am the next morning. Marilyn's cousin and friends were in Shanghai so we were going to stay with them for the night. When we got to the airport, it was raining and there were some scattered thunderstorms, so flights were grounded. The plane we were supposed to take was rerouted from landing in Beijing to Tianjin instead. So we waited around the airport until about 10:30 when the weather cleared up enough for the plane to come back and for us to board. The plane taxied onto the tarmac, but we were informed that we'd have to wait on the tarmac for an hour. So we didn't end up leaving until closer to midnight. Marilyn and I dozed on and off during the flight, so we were groggy as we stumbled off the plane, but Marilyn was alert enough to pick up that we were at the wrong airport. Wait. What? We'd been rerouted to a different airport in Shanghai. And all of us would have to take a charter bus over to the original airport. By the time we arrived, it was almost 4 in the morning. The terminal didn't open back up until 5, so we had to trudge over to Mcdonald's to pass the time. Surreal...

Although getting there was a pain, being in Hong Kong was really refreshing. The post-typhoon weather was amazing (see below). Plus, our friends Lianne and Victoria, and Marilyn's cousin and friends were all in town. We'd all hung out in Beijing the week before, so it was like our little Beijing party had just moved south for a few days.

More later, but first some pictures:

When Marilyn and I went through HK on the way to Beijing, it was mostly rainy and gross those few days, so we didn't go up to the Peak. This time, however, the weather was so nice, it's one of the first things we did.
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While there, Marilyn spotted a rare Bean tree.
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Sunset on the Star Ferry
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Just a normal day in Hong Kong as this Rolls Royce slowly pulls out into traffic.
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The Hong Kong skyline at night. So gorgeous!
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I wish we were better with a camera so we could capture all this better for you...but we're learning!

6 comments:

Bae0wolf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bae0wolf said...

wow very nice, seeing those cityscapes reminds me of the movie "Knock Off" its a classic starring the power duo of Jean Claude Van-Damme and Rob Schneider =D and their random hijinx in the city of Hong Kong. Anyways enjoy your vacation guys!

tamela said...

wow that trip sounded exhausting! i'm glad you got to enjoy some day spa relaxation at the end of it. haha i love the bean tree pic! :)

Florence said...

that bean tree thing is awesome. I hope you all took more pics by it!

Ingrid said...

dude guys, your pictures are really good. bumping up the aperture, huh? hee hee. :) but seriously, your pictures are awesome. So awesome that I expect to see sexy shots of either one of you some time in the near future.

M.dou said...

thanks ingrid. hearing that from you is like Pavarotti bursting into our karaoke room and telling us we sound great. except minus the facial hair and a couple hundred pounds.