I’ve read somewhere that a Shenzhen escape is just a train away from Hongkong with a visa-on-arrival a major plus. Ambitious we may have sounded but off we’re up at 7am for our do-it-yourself Shenzhen tour. We carefully studied the train transfers and have plotted the places to visit with Window of the World a top priority.
We exited Hongkong at exactly 9am, still no hunch of the nightmare ahead. Like other tourists, we went by the escalator for our VOA tourist visa to Shenzhen Special Economic Zone. With full confidence, I handed my paper but as soon as the officer saw my Philippine passport, she handed the address of China Embassy at Hongkong. She said that Filipinos are not allowed a VOA but we can apply for a visa at Hongkong. Huh! I was so tempted to argue but knowing that I was at a foreign land, I kept my silence. I scanned my thoughts deeply but can’t recall of any published article of Filipinos Shenzhen constraint. Even the board at the visa processing area doesn’t list Philippines among the restricted nations.
|Shenzhen as seen from the Hongkong-Shenzhen border|
|The river bordering Hongkong and Shenzhen|
|The walkway back to Hongkong|
In fairness to the guy at the immigration line, he assisted us in securing our exit pass back to Hongkong… I was struggling with my balance as the dismay hasn’t subsided. Much more, I was the one who insisted a Shenzhen tour. But my friend was still up on her toes. She led our way to the embassy at Hongkong. All hopes still up, yes, we arrived at China Embassy. There were only a handful of applicants waiting for their number to be flashed then finally our turn. Well, maybe shoved is not the proper term but that was what I felt then. The lady officer declined our application. She instructed us that for Filipino first time applicants, we need to apply at our country.
It was exactly 12noon when we left China embassy. Pure silence surfaced between us… Slowly, I felt my hungry tummy. It was only then that I realized we haven’t eaten when Delifrance came at sight… We rushed inside with no hesitation, a treat to my friend who longed for a pasta and pizza experience at Hongkong since our Day 1.
With Shenzhen plans a fiasco, we decided to cross Macau earlier than planned. No prior reservations, no planned itinerary… just wherever our foot leads us to. The one-hour ferry ride was smooth; in fact I had a quick nap. The entry process was quick – a testament to how tourists open Macau is. The welcoming Macau kicked away the Shenzhen frustration, or so I thought.
|Arriving at Macau|
It was Friday then. Unknown to us, Macau is usually filled from Friday through weekends. Huhu! Since we have no prior reservations, we literally hopped from hotel to hostel to villas lugging behind our trolleys in search for a room for the night. If not filled, the price was way way up that even small hotel was beyond our budget. The language issue made our case worst; fortunately, my friend was good in making use of signs. So our ending, a room in a villa along Travessa Das Virtudes fronting Macau Masters Hotel.
Travel Date: September 2012