the last stretch of the trip
01/18/2013 - 01/18/2013
We got to Hongkong as scheduled, around 7 p.m. local time on Jan 18th. Due to the 13 hour time difference, it is as if we lost an entire day in transit. We went through Hongkong immigration fairly quickly, picked up our luggage. We have a total of 7 checked bags weighing 50 pounds each, 8 carry-on suitcases and 4 backpacks that probably totaled over 350 pounds, plus two strollers. It was a struggle to pack all of our luggage into 3 large luggage carts, and one heavy duty stroller, even with Skyler and Ellie pulling their own suitcases. I think we got a lot of attention just from how much stuff we had, or I was just self conscious about it. I wish I could tell those starers that I was moving my life to China for six months, being a temporary single mother of two small children that required months of supplies of pull-ups!
My brother, Zhexiong, was waiting for us outside the baggage claim. It took two 7-passenger vans to transport our whole crew and luggage to cross the border between mainland China and Hongkong. The border crossing this time is very much like the border between U.S. and Canada. We stayed in the van, and the driver handed over all of our passports to the immigration officer in the booth. The officer peeked through the door of the van, called a name or two, stamped the passports and we drove through. We were in mainland China, in the city of Shenzhen.
This, I suppose, is the most convenient way to cross the border between mainland China and Hongkong. Several transportation companies have counters clustered together at the Hongkong airport. As we walked near the counters, all of them started yelling out at us, advertising their competitive services. The company we wound up using has a number of uniformly shining black Toyota seven-passenger vans. Once we purchased our ticket at HK$150/person, we were each given a sticker to put on and were led to the parking lot where the vans were packed. There, a surplus uniformed drivers/workers loaded the luggage into the vans. Given the volume of our luggage, they asked us to purchased two extra tickets, which we quickly did. Everybody laughed at the densely packed trunk of one van that held our entire collection of luggage. It was quite a sight. They dropped us off at the border once we crossed over to the mainland side.
Zhexiong rented a 16-passenger van to take us the rest of way to his apartment in Guangzhou. We got here at midnight of Jan 18th, Saturday, Beijing time. The 30-hour journey finally came an end.