Remember we said that it was nice and calm and relaxing here in China? Well scratch that! Or maybe not scratch it completely. It is calm, it is quiet, in fact it is eerily calm and eerily quiet. On Tuesday night, the UK Foreign Office put out a statement urging British Nationals to leave China, and that altered our mind set somewhat. On Wednesday morning, we waited for a statement from the school about what their advice would be, and then waited a little bit longer. Then being a bit more pro-active, as school advice was not forthcoming, we booked flights to Cambodia. Now we just had to make sure that we could actually get across the border to Hong Kong so that we could make the flights out of here. We did play safe, choosing to book flights for Thursday, giving us ample time to get to Hong Kong should there be any mishaps or problems.
Coronavirus: UK tells all Britons to leave China ‘if they can’
source: BBC News https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-51374056
From making the decision to leave China (at lunchtime) we then pressed go, cleaned, got rid of perishables and packed. A couple of hours later we were in a Didi heading to the only remaining border that was open to us… along with everyone else. We’d never fled a country before
Up popped an important email, school advice, stay calm and ride out the storm in the comfort of your own apartment in Shenzhen (paraphrased obviously). Whoops… flights already booked and here we were at the border. What to do? So, we did the sensible thing, we joined the queue, filled in countless health declarations, sanitised our hands after touching every surface, sanitised our hands after touching piece of paper, and got high on the fumes of Dettol.
The irony of the border was not lost on us. The first rule of flight club- avoid crowds. The second rule of flight club – avoid crowds. The third rule of flight club… You get the picture? Except the countless queues and dirty counters where you’d fill in your countless forms forced you into crowds. Good job we had our sexy little masks to protect us (thank you kinky nurses…) And an abundance of hand sanitiser, that was gradually going down.
And on the number 21 bus to Kowloon. The bus was quiet, and the ride quite enjoyable, plenty of legroom, not a lot of traffic. It was an eye opener crossing the border this way, we’d always got the fast train or the metro before, so this was an unknown method. Would recommend it in future (only not as the epidemic is raging through.)
Back to civilisation in Hong Kong, that was almost, though not quite as empty as China. A stop off in Starbucks, for a caffeine (Dettol fumes were wearing off by now, and we were on a sanitiser and adrenaline comedown), then on to little sister’s place for the night, where her husband put us up, and our two friends, in her absence. As we were in Hong Ko
ng, she’d skipped from Hawaii back to the UK.
It was as we were settling into our cappuccino’s that we saw the news that Hong Kong would be quarantining all travellers from Mainland China from Saturday for two weeks, and we were thankful that we had made it through when we did.
Flight this afternoon, and I’ll continue to work remotely, only I’ll be setting lessons and teaching from a poolside! There are worse outcomes from a catastrophe.