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First Night

After arriving in Shenzhen and meeting Sammi in front of the apartment, I now had someone I could trust who spoke English, and things were a lot more comfortable. We went upstairs to the apartment, which looked like it was still occupied. There was someone’s stuff all over, and it turned out that they hadn’t finished moving out. It was good enough for the night. I chatted with my guide for a few hours until she had to go pick up another team and get them settled in.

I didn’t have any blankets except the thin one I had taken from the plane. It was colder than I expected, and I didn’t have any long sleeved shirts, either. There was a ratty blanket on the bed (it turned out that this was the stuffing for a comforter and that one normally gets a cover for this thing that zips over it. The bed was hard so the first night I tried having that stuffing under me, the thin blanket on top, and I wore my clothes and a rain jacket. I was freezing the entire night, and didn’t get more than an hour of sleep; but I didn’t even feel tired. In the morning, I was starving, but fortunately had the snack from the plane that I had stowed.

Being 14 hours different from where you were, and crossing the international date line, is strange. I had left on Tuesday morning, February 28. I arrived in Hong Kong at 8pm Wednesday, February 29. Essentially, I didn’t get a leap day. However, when I return on June 13, I will arrive in San Francisco 1 hour after I depart Hong Kong on the same day.

To recap, I had slept for a total of 3 hours since waking up at 4am Tuesday in Madison. So on Thursday morning, I should have been exhausted. I was tired, but not enough to be able to sleep. I slowly got ready for the day, and wandered out to explore before I was to meet my guide at the appointed location to go over contracts for the apartment. As I wandered around, from out of nowhere someone asked me if I was with the same group they were. Lisa and Abe had recognized me as the only caucasian they had seen since arriving and assumed, correctly, that I was in their group. To add to the good fortune, one of them spoke Mandarin, AND we were right next to a food cart. She ordered me some breakfast and I was a very happy boy. We continued wandering around together for a while, chatting and getting to know each other.

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