In China for a week – the human adaption process (and another ‘visa run’)

I find human beings so interesting.

Observing how we think, how we do things, and respond to our environment is one of my favourite pastimes. There is much learning to be found.

One morning I was riding my bicycle to a daily acupuncture appointment. I left a bit late and was zipping through the traffic.

Suddenly it occurred to me that I am in Shenzhen, and have only been here a week.

Humans can adapt to almost anything, and so quickly too!

How amazing is that?

When people come to a new place and don’t know how it works, a lot of things can seem scary, or even feel threatening.

Just a week ago I was totally new here. Going somewhere alone was not on my list of things to do. Luckily there were a few people giving us a helping hand.

Within a day of arrival I had a Chinese mobile phone, a bicycle, a map of the metro system and another one of the local area, with both Chinese and English scripts.

Most importantly however, I had a piece of paper with my address – in Chinese.

Confidence rose day-by-day, and with it, the adventurer’s spirit.

We had a strange visa situation in China, and had to get a new one every five days, hence the ‘visa run’. With a stay of 11 days, this meant two ‘visa runs’ involving long train trips.

The second trip was due soon.

Could this be done easier?

“Having a couple of days left on the current visa there is no harm in trying something new, is there?” I told my husband.

The adventurer’s spirit had spoken. Travel Wiki showed a check point closer-by, Futian Checkpoint.

Off we went.

The train ride went smoothly, so did exiting China. Entering Hong Kong was all right.

Planning to walk out of the building and back in through another door to depart Hong Kong was the other expected great time saver.

A clever one, we thought.

Leaving Hong Kong went smoothly. Walking across the river on a broad, air-conditioned, marble-clad bridge with panoramic views of Shenzhen and the river below was a novelty.

Chinese customs, a large, almost vacant hall awaited, but… where was the Chinese visa application office?

“No office here” and “go to Lo Hou” we were told by Chinese custom officials.

“Just go back and take the train to Lo Hou” they said.

This is easier said than done when you’re in no-man’s land, between two countries.

‘No harm to try’, we thought by way of convincing ourselves, and started walking back, against the busy foot traffic and prominent ’No Return’ signage. Nobody seemed to mind.

At the other side of the river a vigilant Hong Kong official jumped from her post. “No visa? Going back to Hong Kong? Follow me!” and “we need to cancel your departure” she said.

Another official awaited us “this will take a while” he said, slightly hesitantly, and promptly walked away with our passports.

Oh oh – will the passports come back?

Luckily they did.

Following what was actually a brief wait, another official guided us back into the Hong Kong departure hall. From there it was a short walk out of the building and an elevator ride to the arrival hall.

From there we took the train towards Hong Kong – just as a massive storm with lightning and thunder and torrential rain hit…

Not too much harm done. After one stop we had to change train – however now on known territory, we were just one more stop away from the very familiar immigration process at Lo Hou.

It was strangely comforting.

People adapt – they deal with what is.

So, I’d like to invite you to be adventurous, push your boundaries.

You will be able to deal with what comes your way – and you will grow from the experience.

Then, you might like to send me an email and tell me how it went.

Preeti