July 26, 2009

Training Day

I completed an epic 24 hour train journey from Beijing to Hong Kong. In the process, I saw the Chinese landscape through the windows of my compartment and felt the warmth of the Chinese people through my heart. Most of my trip was spent on a long distance train from Beijing to Shenzhen. Fellow travelers took great interest in the presence of a foreigner, especially one of such indecipherable origins and universal appeal. Intrigued passengers gathered around from nearby compartments to see what the hullabaloo was about.

Through the help of an interpreter I explained all the exotic foods I wished to eat while in China. The men roared with approval while the women squirmed in disgust. One chap led me to his compartment so I could practice English with him. He was going overseas for the first time to give a presentation to some Germans and was understandably nervous. Since I understood most of what he was saying, he was relieved and a great burden was lifted from his back.

Located directly north of Hong Kong on the Pearl River delta, Shenzhen is China's first Special Economic Zone (SEZ). In a SEZ many legal restrictions are lifted or eased by the government, allowing business to flourish. Shenzhen has developed rapidly from a small fishing village to a busy megapolis in three decades. From the Shenzhen train station, it was only a short walk to the subway which would take me to Hong Kong. I went through customs before hopping on board. This 40 minute subway ride pushed my total travel time to a day. My journey from Beijing to Hong Kong had come to an end.

"Most of my treasured memories of travel are recollections of sitting."– Robert Thomas Allen