So far I've been back-logging the different places I've visited, but I haven't really talked much about me. In fact, I recognize that this is the first time I speak here, and I'm not sure how good of an idea it is; like a break in the flow, the narrative of this blog may suffer from taking a moment and set aside a few thoughts. Since what I am living today is far away from what I've been telling you about, it feels like I'm actually breaking out of the past and bringing you all in to my present -ironically enough, all the back-logs have been written in the present tense...- so that maybe I can work out a few thoughts. This will make a mess, but maybe that's how I am, make a few messes, clean up and continue.
I'm in Guangzhou East Station, waiting a train for Xiamen. Last night I decided to make my first visa exit. When I applied for my Chinese visa, I checked the 90 day stay periods box, but got only 30 day spans on the multiple entry, year-long visa. So to be on the clear, I ran from guangzhou to Shenzhen, about an hour (or more?) train ride. From Shenzhen, it is very easy to hop the border to Hong Kong, get on the metro there, dash one stop and return. So the whole ordeal took about three hours. Three hours in which I was missing my travel companion a lot, hoping to catch up with her in Xiamen. An close, true friend, and someone I have grown to love more and more, Luo Ting has shared her graduation vacation with me for the past two weeks. We made plans to meet again in Xiamen, and I calculated that if I made my border crossing well, I would be in Xiamen a few hours after her arrival. What I didn't count on was that the Shenzhen train station closes early, and that it has no train services to Xiamen. After making such a wide U-turn in Hong Kong, I am faced with the fact that I will have to go back to Guangzhou so I can catch a train to Xiamen. The night keeps grown longer, and I have no way to contact Ting, so I sit quietly in the train back. Upon arrival I learn that the next train to Xiamen will not be until the next night, 20 hours in the future. Midnight closing in, I have no clue where to go, so I but the Xiamen ticket -with no seat available, will I be standing for the 13 hour trip?- and walk around the now closed train station.
The only places to go are McDonalds or KFC. This fact astounds me; China has Starbucks, 7-Eleven, McDonalds, et al, all over the place, all of them equally popular, if not more than in the States, with meals in any of these places costing the same as a two- or three-person traditional Chinese meal of noodles or rice, meat and vegetables. People's consumption in these trendy places is relentless. I've been against fast food for the past five years, but hoping to at least benefit from the wi-fi, I pop McD's and get a sundae. Even at midnight, and all throughout the night, the pre-fabd restaurant keeps busy, mainly with young, fashionable Chinese. The wi-fi doesn't work, and I grow more and more tired, and fall asleep in a far corner. Surprisingly, no one bothers me, wakes me up, or asks me to buy something else or leave. It's not the best rest I've had, but I felt fortunate to sleep somewhere other than a street bench nearby.