25th April 2005
After the dinner with the sixoneders on the eve of my departure, I went home to finish packing my backpack and played conquer for the last time before I leave. But I ended up chatting on MSN instead. I still couldn’t believe that I will be leaving for China for 4 months. 4 months without seeing my family and friends in a country with people whom I’ve never see before.
Finally at 4 am, my parents woke up and we headed for the airport. Everything’s just like a dream. We reached the airport at around 5 and right after I entered the airport, I saw these two familiar faces trying to hide their faces with their bags. YN and MQ came to send me off at the airport!! It’s apparent that they were at the airport the entire night. It was really a pleasant surprise to see them there.
Anyway, I had to pay for excess baggage. It was 15 dollars. I checked in earlier than the other two, so I ended up sitting super far away from them. I fell asleep before the plane even took off! After sleeping for about an hour or so, I finally met up with Jocelyn when she came to the front to say hi. :o)
The plane landed finally at 10 plus in the morning. We had to take this bus from the plane to the main building, which I absolutely have no idea why, cos the airport should be quite big and it is apparently not full. Anyway, the bus is good in a way cos it stops near the customs. Cleared the customs super quickly, and finally met up with the other intern, Gavin, as they finally appeared at the baggage claim belt.
As we walked out into the arrival hall, we were greeted by this blue sign with our names on it. A taxi was waiting for us as promised. We were sent to 天星码头as we still had a bit of time before Adelaine’s free to join us. We met up with two of Jocelyn and Gavin’s friends, Philip and Hazel, who were both in HK for exchange. I am really amazed by their friendliness, and it reminded me why I can’t fit into SMU, I lack the X-factor. Anyway, we ended up having lunch at 糖朝 with nice dim sum, noodles and desserts. Took a small walk in HarbourCity before we finally boarded the ferry.
We were led to this small private room on the upper deck of the ferry. I realize I get sea-sick quite easy, cos I felt giddy 4 minutes after boarding. Soon, we were invited to this big VIP room with surrounded glass windows at the back of the upper deck. I fell asleep very soon on the sofa and woke up only when we were already approaching Nansha. Everything till that point was almost too good to be true. Nice people, nice treatment. Good start to the 4 months.
When we arrived at the harbour in nansha, the hotel has sent a small van to take us to our hostel, which was just across the road. The traffic conditions in China is atrocious. The van just cut across the road. There were no turning points, and I couldn’t even tell the direction of the traffic. The hostel condition was not as bad as I had expected, but I guess the VIP treatment till that point of time has raised my expectations in the day. So I was rather disappointed at the condition of the hostel. It’s this small apartment on the 5th floor in a building that looks like the old HDB flats in Sg. There were nothing except blue curtains, wooden sofas with no cushioning, beds + wardrobe + desk + chair in each of the three rooms and two small toilets with one water heater that works on this huge gas tank that was installed slightly later in the evening. So, the apartment was rather rundown, empty but big. I learnt later that we were already given special treatment cos there are staff that had to squeeze in 10 persons in such an apartment.
So, we went out to town to get mattress, blankets, pillows and other necessities like pails, kettle etc. The town was not too clean and the customer service was the worst I’ve ever seen. After shopping, we finally settled down at a restaurant to eat. Their dishes were rather big. Six persons couldn’t finish the food we ordered and the price turned out to be only 140 plus RMB!! Food is really quite cheap and the service was quite ok, as in they do everything for u, just rather reluctantly. After dinner, we were driven back to the hostel in the same chaotic traffic and that marks the end of the first day.