Hong Kong to Beijing

Trip Start Jun 03, 2013
Trip End Aug 25, 2013

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

My wakeup calls came as scheduled at 7:30 and 7:45 am. I didn't have any trouble getting up. I got everything packed, showered, and went down to the cafe next door for breakfast. Had watermelon juice, scrambled eggs with mushrooms and potato cake. It was quite good. I got my tea to go.

I went back up to my room for final packing then went down to reception on the 2nd floor to check out and have them help me get a taxi. One of the receptionists went down with me and got me a cab to the Hong Kong Station. It cost 20 HKD. The guy drove a little crazy, as did the other drivers around him. Glad he wasn't driving me to the airport!

I got in the station, went to the little ticket kiosk and bought my 10 HKD Airport Express ticket, went to the platform, and there was a train waiting for me. Twenty-four minutes later I was at the airport. I got checked in with no trouble at all, walked around some shops a little, buying a scarf to match my new dress, and then went to the terminal.

I answered some questions for a survey about my experience in the airport which took up most of my waiting time. Got in line to board, got in my seat, and we took off. Had a nice meal, sitting by the window. The guy next to me didn't talk, but that was fine by me. I watched The Croods, and by the time it was over, we were almost there.

I had to go through an immigration checkpoint first. I was a bit nervous, but I gave her the immigration card I had received on the plane, she looked at my picture, and off I went. I got my bag and was really glad when I finally saw it on the carrousel; it seemed like it took forever for it to come down. I was really afraid it might have gotten lost.

Then I headed to the next checkpoint, and walked on through. Although, I did have to put my suitcase through a scanner. Then I went out to where all the people were waiting. I scanned the crowd and the papers people were holding up, looking for my name. Nothing. I walked very slowly to make sure I didn't miss Gloria. Nothing. I walked behind the people, several times. I circled, like a shark. At one point I walked behind the people calling, "Gloria," "Gloria," "Gloria" about every 10 people. Nothing. Oh, dear. She wasn't there.

I turned on my China phone that Ada let me borrow. No, I couldn't turn on my phone--completely, and I mean COMPLETELY, dead. Oh, dear again. She had my number to call me. Did I have her number? I looked through everything. Uh, no, I don't have her number. Shit. I went to a customer service desk and asked for a phone charging station. There was one nearby. I started to charge the phone, but I couldn't even turn it on yet. Think, think, think... What am I going to do if no one is here? Who can I call? That is, if my phone ever charges. Sigh.

I pulled out my little pad of paper and on the back, with a sharpie, wrote GLORIA as big as I could on 4 X 6 cardboard and held it up. I felt like an idiot standing there. Is there any chance she would see me over here by the phone chargers? I kept checking my phone...still d-e-a-d. Charge already! I kept looking around. I had seen one picture of her the day I left, but there is no way I could pick her out based on that. I saw some movement to my left. There was a circular sitting area just in front of the charging station. Two people came towards me. "Kit?" "Yes!" Oh my God, it was Gloria. They had been sitting just a few feet away. What a relief.

The helper took my luggage cart, and she took us over to a counter and bought me a bus ticket. It was the first time I didn't have to carry, haul, or push my stuff around since I had left. So nice. They took me to the buses and got me onboard. They told the driver about me, and told me to get off on the last stop, Xidan.

It took about 1 hour and 15 minutes to get there. The traffic was awful. Just like Los Angeles during rush hour, and it was rush hour here too. Eventually, at this one stop, everyone started getting off. "Well," I thought, "this must be it." Or at least I was praying it was it.

I got my suitcase from underneath and looked around. I saw no one. I stood there for awhile. No one. It was hot, but really not so bad, compared to Hong Kong. There were some steps, so I went and sat down. I figured I would be easy to spot as the only blonde in sight. Again, though, I'm thinking...what if they don't show up? I never got my phone charged. I don't know where I am in relation to the school. Sigh. I waited, waited, waited. I kept looking around.

Eventually, two people came up to me. Phew! The guy took my stuff and we walked to the school. It was hot. The poor guy was sweating. I kept trying to help by taking my bag, but he wouldn't let me. Gaga, the lady, (but not THE Lady Gaga) gave me a quick tour of the school, the offices, classrooms, cafeteria, and then took me to my room. She gave me her own personal card that allows me to eat, shower and get onto campus, since they had run out of cards.

I met one of my roommates, Tania who is from Latvia. She had been sleeping when I was taken to my room. She has been here 4 1/2 months and is getting ready to go to one of the camps. She's a team leader. She is one of those selfless, amazing people that love to do for others and help the world. She was very helpful to me by showing me and telling me how things work around here. Tania will be at camp for a month, then will return.

Later, I met my other roommate, Jenny. She's from China. She is also going to a camp but a day after Tania. She is just the sweetest girl. She likes to help me with my Chinese. Too bad she won't be here longer! Unfortunately, she will not return after her month at camp.

What a day!

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