Tuesday, October 11, 2011


At 12.30, we head out in search of food. Thankfully my 2 friends speak Mandarin - which accomplishes only half the job - asking where food is. The other important half is finding food. The security guard points us to the building where the workers are flowing out from. The buliding is a 4 floor dining area. Each floor is almost as huge as a football field - and I am following my chinese colleagues with a box of ready-to-eat Rajma-Chawal in my hand. It's made in India, but purchased in US, and now brought to China. Wait till they start making that here too.

I am itched to try the local factory food - the actual food that workers here eat, that fuels the pride of "Made in China" stickers we see on every product. I ask my friends to check with the servers behind the alluminium food counters, if they have anything vegetarian. He asks, and they reply "oh you mean chicken or fish?". Facepalm. He explains further, and they point out to raw noodles. Just boiled noodles.

The only option I have of Wheat or Yam noodles - being tossed in boiling hot water by an old Chinese lady. They know I don't speak their language, but the noodle lady lady screams something at me, and signals me to come. I go there, and she puts some chilli powder and vegetable broth. That's lunch - boiled wheat noodles, chilli powder and a few peanuts. Chopsticks, of course.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


I enter the hotel and it stands not even remotely close to any of the luxurious countries or hotels I've stayed at. Ritz Carlton gives a whole new meaning to luxury and sets a bar too high- a conspiracy to disappoint me in future travels. the 18th floor, a full down town view from my bathtub and my bedroom, remote controlled curtains and sheers, a 47 inch LCD TV with sound bar- the list is endless.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Crossing China border on foot - and trying to not shit bricks:

We entered China at 3.30am, and he has to switch road sides- to drive on the OTHER side of the road now. interesting and scary enough when he does a 120 on a 60 speed limit highway. It gets even more scary when he is almost about to hit a vehicle.

My ride:

Its 3 am, and I see a man holding a "Mehtasid" placard, almost sleeping while standing and making my name sound like a medicine ingredient. Turns out in China - they call you by lastname,firstname. I greet him, he takes my luggage and seats me inside a fancy car - which is a right hand drive. Feels homely - recollecting from Wikipedia that Hong Kong was once a British territory, too.

A 30 minute ride puts us to the border where we enter China in a 3 step fashion - the guy takes my passport to the customs and immigration officers at each step, talks to them and makes me feel nothing short of a king, or a mafia who  has to just sit inside the car and wave to the police. This looks like right out of a movie - crossing the border in a car at 4am. I try stepping out of the car once to meet the Police, but the driver signals me to sit back inside.

China, two words: Incredibly Impressive

Day 0:
Continuing the story from where I left off in the status message : heavens above bestow some grace, and I finally land in HKG at 2.30am, only 8 hours after the scheduled time. I see Cathay Pacific ground trying their best to arrange transport for most people but are helpless to send me where I want to go: China.

The option I'm suggested by Mr. Jack: take a taxi to the border, walk and cross the Chinese immigration and Customs, and take another taxi to the hotel. All this - at 4am-  in a country I've never stepped foot on, in a language that I don't speak or read, and where the nobody speaks english. I am smiling, wondering what lies ahead.

Warnings Mr. Jack gives me:
-beware of pick pockets, 
-don't talk to people who try to be too friendly, 
-spread your money in different pockets
-don't seem like a traveler. Wonder how?