Southeast Asia updates

Hello all.

I’ve made it to Thailand and reconnected with my friend T’ew. I’ll crash at his place for a couple nights before jumping on a couple trains to get myself down south to Koh Phangan. Though my Project Fi service is excellent here (not so much in China), I will be doing my best to stay off my phone.

Before I sign off, here are some thoughts from the last couple of days:

Hey everyone. A couple videos to share from my day in Guangzhou, China. If you’re unfamiliar, Guangzhou is a large city just north of Shenzhen, the city across the strait from Hong Kong. It also appears to be the main hub for China Southern Airlines. I just wanted to expand on a few of the things that I alluded to in the video.

While I don’t think I could sustain this life of adventure indefinitely, it is certainly the thing that gives my life any spice right now. And I think that for those of us who have tasted the thrill of adventure, anything less is unsatisfying if not downright boring. And the best part is that nothing particularly interesting even needs to happen for their to be an adventure. All it takes is a bit of a snag in the plans, and things suddenly get interesting. For example, customs. I had to go through customs when I landed in Wuhan, China. I had no business there, but they required that we get off the plane, clear customs, and get back on the plane to fly to Guangzhou. Not knowing that I would be given a temporary visa and allowed to leave the airport, I asked for an arrival card, planning to use a (still valid) visa I got back in 2015. That threw off the flight attendant who then assumed that I was not continuing on to Guangzhou. She therefore did not give me a reboarding ticket, so I showed up to the security desk with nothing but the stub of my original boarding pass and a slip of paper from a machine that took my fingerprints and apparently confirmed that I’m not an international fugutive. After a moment of confusion and the efforts of a security agent who tracked down the crew, all was fine. But I couldn’t help but laugh at myself as I stood awkwardly aside while the line flowed past me. This stuff always happens to me.

And then there was the hotel room. Ah yes, they set us up in a hotel! Good thing I was listening as I passed by baggage claim and a crew member said something about a free hotel for flight CZ660. After passing out of the controlled area to ask directions and subsequently being redirected through the explosives check on the way back in, I found the desk where my fellow travelers were being assigned hotel rooms. A short ride in an electric van (it took me several minutes to figure out that it and most of the other vehicles on the road were battery powered), I filed into an eerily dark and quiet (but otherwise elegant) hotel. The darkness persisted when I got to my room. After fiddling with all the switches and even conceding to using the toilet with the aid of my phone’s flashlight, I inspected the widgets by the door long enough to realize that one of them was a slot for the room key, whose presence would energize the room. But then, I never figured out how to turn off the light on the desk, so I unscrewed the bulb for the night.

Oh, the things one learns when they travel! The past 48 hours have been almost a constant flow of these learning experiences. It’s what happens when one immerses oneself in a culture vastly different from their own. People just do things differently. If there’s anything that will continue to draw me back to China, it’s the strangeness of the place and the interest in figuring out how to go about a normal life amidst such customs. Of course, it is only strange to me. To everyone else here, it’s just the way things work. This stinky giant in the goofy shoes is the strangest part about any place I go in this area of the globe.

One thought on “Southeast Asia updates

  1. Hi Geoff, missed you yesterday at our 4th of July gathering and am glad you are posting your adventures traveling in Guangzhou, plus other places. Say hi to T’ew from us and keep writing because I look for your posts every day. (nice shoes)

    Like

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