July 4, 2010
in line at the border crossing from China to Hong Kong i meet an American living in Shanghai. he is married to an Australian and they have two small children. he is doing some type of visa run. he gets pulled aside as we get to the immigration desk and i breeze past.
travelers get nervous at new border crossings. traveling independently we have to find the border, face the border guards, cross the nomans land inbetween, face new border guards and negotiate the gauntlet of potential scams all without the buffer of a packaged tour. we thrive on this. overland crossing of borders is like a rite of passage and the more remote the more esteem conferred on the traveling party.
there is a downpour that does not seem to want to end. two weeks ago in Hoi An I made a delivery of items i no longer need for homeless kids. a nalgene bottle, the black shirt Marti gave me, books and my umbrella. this storm is socked in and i have just crossed a boder, here's list of my immediately need to do. in the rain, go find a money changer or an ATM, get enough cash for lunch and an umbrella, sit someplace i can dry out and assess the area. i am up beat but no one enjoys dragging around bags looking for a hotel in the rain.
here in Shenzhen i see Starbucks for the first time since leaving Chang Mai, Thailand.