Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Long Way to China

So the flight from Newark to Hong Kong actually took 17 hours because there were some delays due to leaking from one of the wings. At least there were no snakes. The plane had movies on demand which was awesome! I watched Avatar, The Lovely Bones, Wedding Crashers, Bride Wars, and Forrest Gump. Each person had an individual screen operated by touch. However, my screen was very insensitive and as a result I had to practically punch each button with my finger. The individual sitting in front of me definitely felt the effects of my indecision. I felt bad, but what could I do? I needed to go through all the movies to make my decision! The airline food was bad as expected but for one of the snacks which included a small carton of Haagen-Dazs ice cream. Yum!

When we arrived in Hong Kong, I was immediately struck by the heat and humidity. Seriously, I felt as if I could cut through the thick, dense, muggy air with a knife. Customs at the airport was a breeze compared to entering into the U.S. but we had to drive through an immigration checkpoint where we had to open the doors and trunk of the car. Then inspectors with face masks came and pointed strange instruments at as. I thought they were breathalyzers but apparently they detect temperature. My grandmother explained that the instruments check for signs of fever. Maybe they are still worried about H1N1?

We drove about an hour to Shenzhen, the city in which my uncle lives. It is a modern, vibrant city. Thirty years ago it was still a small fishing village but Deng Xiaoping, in his opening up of China, declared it a Special Economic Zone. This meant that Shenzhen had more lenient trade laws which made it attractive for foreign investment. Therefore the city now is very affluent and has a lot of western influence. It has a different appearance than many of the older cities. For example, the air pollution is not as bad, public areas are much cleaner, and there is more attention to landscaping and plant life.

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