Getting off the plane was a relief; we had been blessed with sitting in front of a massive plonker whilst in the air. The man behind my husband insisted on sticking his big fat clown feet all the way under the chair as far as they could possibly go, so that when my husband peered down all he could see were the rounded toe caps to heel, taking up a significant proportion of the already measly leg room. He argued with the air hostesses about the unacceptable amount of drinks on offer and made his vocal complaints loud enough for all to hear. Come on man! This was a budget Air Asia flight, there was never going to be a fully stocked bar on the aeroplane. For us though, after enjoying the sky fodder on offer, it was time to recline our seats and enjoy the rest of the flight back. No problem for my daughter and I, the seats behind were empty so we risked offending no-one. For my husband, he felt no guilt in the action of pushing backwards, plonker behind was encroaching on his space, time to reclaim some of it.
Even on landing, he continued vocalising his displeasure to the air hostesses, who batted his insults and comments off, much as a duck shrugs off water. They must have encountered far worse than him. The last we saw of him was just after Hong Kong customs where he’d got into yet another minor altercation, and we watched him walk off into the distance shaking his fist and head at anybody who cared to see.
“Have you been to Italy, Iran, South Korea, China, or Japan in the last 14 days?” The question that we were asked at every checkpoint (and there were a lot of then.)
Ok – good to go. We got through Hong Kong immigration relatively pain free. (Except for my leg, which had given way on disembarking the plane- when I say relatively pain free- I meant it metaphorically – in a sense that it was straightforward. I was in a fair bit of physical pain and spent the day hobbling from one point to the next!)
Our next step – into a green taxi to Shenzhen Bay Border. After what had happened with the two teachers stuck in Chinese quarantine, we were loath to take the ferry. However, at this point, as the ferry was no longer running, even if we wanted to, it was no longer an option. We were never quite sure where to pick up an Uber from the airport, so a common taxi it was then. Not the favoured method of travel. Our suitcases were put in the boot and tied down with a flimsy piece of bungee cord. Then an hour’s journey with a complete speed demon mentalist. Fortunately, the freeway was empty for the most part, so when he hit speeds in excess of 100 miles an hour (at one point 110) at least there was no-one to crash into. The erratic swaying of the vehicle did concern us though- as did the way that the suitcases were secured. We breathed a heavy sigh of relief when we hit traffic once again. At least the only thing we had to contend with there was the dodging between cars as he fought to get to the front of where-ever.
“Please come with me.” In broken English.
We never found out the answer to that question, as she disappeared off with a look of panic and a bead of sweat dripping down her brow. We’re hoping the sweat was from stress and panic, and not as the result of a fever.
So far so good.
The school had arranged a driver to pick us up from Shenzhen Bay Border, and once more this turned out to be stress free, well organised and efficient. This driver was not a mentalist, the car was comfortable, and we were on the home straight.
Entering the community proved somewhat different. Our community has four entrances, North, East, South and West. The main entrance during this period was the West entrance which was and is fully kitted out like a crime scene. No longer is it a simple swipe your key system. Now it is controlled by guards in fully manned tents, bodies in yellow plastic protective jumpsuits, that you need to get through. A different social status to those in white gowns? A fashion statement? Either way, these guards managed to play God and make the last part of our journey a nightmare. How can crossing three borders in one day be easier than crossing the community gate to get back home?
A walk across the grounds, into our building, then up to floor fifteen (being careful not to press the lift button with bare fingers) out the lift and across the hall, keys in the door, and here we are- home!