Friday, April 16, 2010

Fuzhou To Hong Kong To Seoul To Atlanta

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Following our two-day stint in Dehua, we drove another 2.5 hours to the port city of FUZHOU. We checked into the luxurious SHANGRI-LA HOTEL, freshened up, then headed back down to the lobby to finish up our appointments...

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We were looking forward to getting back to the hotel early and then spending our last official night in China shopping and exploring. Of course, that wasn't going to happen. Our driver got totally lost, and we ended up driving around aimlessly for a couple of hours. All we could do was watch the scooters pass us by, as we sat in traffic and frustration...

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At one point, our driver tried to drive thru a busy crosswalk AND a red light at an intersection, not knowing that a policeman was standing RIGHT THERE to catch him in the act. We were forced to pull over to the side of the road while our driver was interrogated by the cop...while he was settling his fine (BRIBING the cop?), we sat and watched a street vendor in front of our van sell HOUSE PLANTS to passing motorists and pedestrians. We ended up being THREE HOURS late to our appointment, which meant we got back to the hotel just long enough re-pack our luggage for our trek back home the following day...

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We got up early the next morning to find the city still sleeping, still snuggled up in a blanket of fog. We went down for a quick breakfast and passed a little cafe, stopping just long enough to peek in through the closed doors at the GIANT PASTILLAGE GALLEON floating in the middle of the shop...

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On the way to our last two appointments, we passed by a castle-shaped daycare center, with characters from HARRY POTTER crudely painted on it's pink walls. We also passed an EMPORIO can usually tell how prosperous a Chinese city is by the number of high-fashion outlets lining it's streets. Meanwhile, in the middle of Tiananmen Square, somewhere deep in the heart of a cold, gray mausoleum, the embalmed body of Mao Zedong was dry-heaving in it's grave...

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On our way to the airport, after the very last appointment of our trip, we spotted a little basket-making operation from the side of the road and pulled over to investigate. It was another opportunity for us to stretch out our legs before taking the series of flights that would bring us home...

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After the impromptu detour, we rushed to the Fuzhou airport to catch a flight back to HONG KONG. From 2pm that Thursday, until 2pm the following Friday, Missy and I were either sitting in an airport or sitting on an airplane. The first leg of our epic trip was on a crowded domestic flight, via DRAGON AIR...

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Once we were back in Hong Kong, we had several hours to kill before our flight to Korea...we decided to treat ourselves to some good ol' BEN & JERRY'S (don't worry, the prices were in HK DOLLARS) and an ice cold Coke...

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After our snack, we stumbled upon perhaps one of the best bookstore chains ever - PAGE ONE - a bookstore that catered specifically to designers, artists, and other creatives. We ended up dropping a mad wad of dough on art books and fashion mags imported from Japan. The reading material came in handy while we waited patiently by our gate. By the time we boarded our flight, it was well past midnight...

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It was 5am when we arrived in SEOUL. None of the stores in the airport were open yet, save for a food stand here and there, so there was nothing to keep us entertained, nothing to keep us awake. Our next flight - the plane ride that would finally deliver us back to Georgia - didn't leave until after 10am. There was nothing left to do except to stretch out and wait. There was no debate, no debate, no debate. I was able to take one last photo of Missy before the batteries in my camera gave was the perfect metaphor for the end of our exhaustive adventure in China...

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