Red Circle Tea


The taxi bus is still my absolute favorite way to cross any customs or immigration ever. Clean, classy, non-complicated. Eight people in a leather seated minivan with air conditioning and no schleping through lines. Yes, there's a transfer to a coach that is both a little distressing, and makes you feel like cattle at an auction - will anyone notice my sticker indicating transfer of -in this case tourists- to their destination? You stand and wait, and someone comes along and points to your sticker on a regular basis checking on you and then suddenly starts screaming at you in Chinese and pointing you in the right direction to the coach that will take you to your destination. I'm used to staying calm when someone's screaming at me in Chinese, I usually find they're simply trying to be heard above the din, or help me understand their language better at a higher volume. I think it's kind of sweet. So far on this trip I have been well served by the expression, please can you help me? and pointing furtively at my luggage/deadweight. Several people have unreservedly, and without looking at me jumped at the chance to help. I'm both comforted by the assistance, and simultaneously impressed at the selflessness of the act. A request for help is heard and met with unquestioning wholehearted assistance. Even when offered thanks many times, the helper has simply nodded in dismissal, no big deal. But it is a big deal to me, and I very much appreciate it. I think I'll try not to be careless with my requests for help so I don't outwear my welcome. On the coach finally to Guangzhou, an announcement over the loudspeaker in shrieking cantonese heralds something completely unknown - the announcer sounds like he's talking through an AM radio station at top volume, and the decibel level of what he's saying overpowers his words. I look around in interest, just to see how everyone else responds on the bus, and the stylishly dredded Hong Kong man across the aisle from me makes a distasteful face like he's just smelled cat pee then rolls his eyes. And I lose it, I nearly spit my water out as i choke back laughter, Chinese means of herding unsophisticated tourists aren't the most sophisticated, but often successful. Later I'll go deeper into Chinese and Hong Kong cultural relations between native Hong Kongers and "mainlanders" as they're known (things aren't good). For now, onward to Guangzhou!

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