The Border Crossing Experiences: Shenzhen/Hong Kong. 2004

I’ve been lucky enough to get to a see a lot of the world and travel to more countries than most people have. I’m very appreciative of that and don’t take it for granted. However, one salient element of the travelling process has not been very good to me over the years: issues at the border. For some reason, I seem to get myself into awkward situations that result in me fearing for my passport, life and wallet. Prepare for tales of when border crossings haven’t gone quite to plan. First up; a normally run of the mill experience of a day shopping trip to Shenzhen, China from Hong Kong with my mom doesn’t go quite to plan, written at the tender age of sixteen.

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If anyone was around Marina Cove at 2pm today and saw a remarkably wet girl laughing manically to herself and mumbling “You’ve GOT to be kidding me”…that would be me

Due to sitting within 30 centimetres of two people with colds on my Science table, I woke up on Tuesday with a heavy cold. Add this to my barely existent voice and sore throat due to the Sevens [I get excited when watching sports] and you have me as a not happy chappy.

But I got up at 9:00 this morning, the FIRST day of the Easter holiday in order to have a day of mother-daughter shopping in Shenzhen [across the Chinese border, full of fake DVD’s and fake clothes and fake..well you get the idea] We caught the KCR, crossed the border and got to Immigration. My mom’s passport got stamped, no problem. And then mine.

Suddenly the immigration guy was calling over other immigration guys. And then more immigration guys. And THEN we got lead into a little room…by this time I was starting to think my Mom was using my passport to transport cocaine or something.

Anyway, it turns out we’re not cocaine transporters…I’m simply an ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT!

Yup, somehow my visa ran out about a month and a half ago [we only applied for it 3 months ago] because of a screw up at the office. To simplify it, basically if I went into China I would have to come back as a visitor to HK, which would screw up my ID Card and residental status and everything.So I kindly told my Mother she could carry on to Shenzen, and I would return home, shopping-less. She then told me to go get some rest, because I would be getting up TOMORROW at 9, or earlier, in order to go sort out my visa…which means no Girl’s Day Out, which was supposed to be happening tomorrow

I got “escorted” by a official policeman guy to the edge of the border [a barrier in the middle of a train station] and was then sent back to Hong Kong…realizing 3 seconds after I’d been released I had no idea how to get the train, as there were no obvious signs and there was currently a mob of people fighting to get past me. I walked around a little, until admitting defeat and going to a counter [there were no Help counters…just this random counter]. 4 people later, and I got someone who could speak limited English. Following her extensively helpful hand gestures, I managed to find the train 20 minutes later. Because my mother had neglected to give me any money, I only had just enough money to buy a standard class ticket.

An hour later I was on the bus home. It was pouring down and I was praying to whatever’s up there that they would be kind enough to STOP the rain before I hopped off the bus and started the 15-minute walk to my house.

Of course, when I hopped off and started my 15-minute journey, it was only raining harder. While I stood by the road, waiting to cross and thinking longingly of all those Shenzhen bargains, a car drove by me and SPLOOSHED me…like in the movies? When water goes all over you, including your already-soggy cords?

On I went, thinking to myself what a funny story this would be to tell on Xanga, how people would laugh at me for being splooshed.

—You know how in Hollywood comedies, the characters have all these bad things happen to them that you scorn and find totally impossible?—

There I was, pretty much soaked, water dripping off my nose and my backpack completely wet, when another car drove by. And splooshed me.

By the time I got home, I’d forgotten what it felt like to be dry, and I’m pretty much sure that I dripped about 25% of the world’s water on the floor.

**Edit: I just clicked ‘Submit’ and realized it was April’s Fools Day, which just makes me laugh more..to have this happen on the 1st of April…maybe the immigration dudes were just playing some reallyreallyNOTfunny joke on us?**