This is the story of an Indian in China while Coronavirus Pandemic was at its peak there. That time only China was hit by the Coronavirus disaster and the rest of the world was unaware of what is going to happen to them in the near future.
“Term to Stay” About to Finish
This all started in the streets of China on my last business trip. Though I had 6 months visa; however, the associated obligations allowed me to stay no more than 30 days in China in a single stretch. I had no idea about what to do when it would reach about to reach 30 days as this was my first time staying in China for such a long period.
To abide by the laws, I needed to go out of China and come back before completing 30 days. So I gathered information from here and there and also asked in different groups that I had joined before going to China during my Chinese language learning sessions. During that time thinking about going out and returning back was more headaches because the Coronavirus Outbreak was at a peak in China. Almost every movement of the people of China was being monitored closely by the government.
After researching so much I concluded that I can either go to Hong Kong or Macau. Macau seemed to be the best resort as few people confirmed that they visited Macau recently without any trouble. I also checked online and found that Indian people can stay in Macau for 30 days without any visa or documents. The only thing they must have is their passport. So, I decided to go to Macau the very next morning i.e. on the 28th day of my stay.
I found online that the bus to the nearest port to Macau (Gongbei Port) would leave early in the morning at 7:15 AM. That night I could sleep till 3:00 AM, maybe because of stress or something, I don’t know.
Left for Macau
The next morning I took the bus and reached the Gongbei port at 9:30 AM. After 30 or 40 minutes I was in Macau, I didn’t face any major challenges my travel to Macau except a few extra health checkups and formalities. I also had to come back early so I could take the return bus at 1:30 PM. After spending around 2 hours in Macau and I returned the same way I went there.
I was feeling happy that I came back without any hassle. Now, this Indian in China need not fulfill any other formalities. So, I quickly reached the ticket counter to buy the ticket for the next bus to my place. But I was shocked by the disheartening answer from the lady sitting on the counter. She said
“There is no more bus going back to your place today. Due to the Coronavirus, all buses to your place have been canceled. The last bus has already left at 11:00 AM and now you have to wait till tomorrow 11:00 AM.”
No need to put stress on your mind. Obviously, that lady didn’t tell me all this in English. In China, expecting English from someone local is like you are expecting to find vegetarian food in a restaurant which famous for its Chicken biryani.
Anyways back to the story. After knowing that today I can’t go back by bus I felt very bad as the bus was the best and cheapest way to go back. Then I tried to find a way to go back by taxi. So I went to the taxi stand and asked a few drivers if they would go to my place. But after hearing their charges, I decided to find other ways to go back. Their charges were more than 10 times I need to pay if I go by bus. Between all these tensions I start feeling very hungry. I hadn’t eaten anything except two bread slices and one cup of coffee which I ate during my stay in Macau.
Why Not Google It
I started to find a restaurant but most of them were closed due to Lockdown in the city that was enforced as a preventive measure against the Corona spread. Then I saw a not so old Chinese man. I went to him and asked in my not at all good Chinese and with the help of sign language that if there were any good restaurants nearby which are open. He pointed me to the street just in front of me that had one open restaurant where I could eat. As I was already so tired, I didn’t want to go the wrong way. So I again asked him: “Are you sure?”. He started to laugh slowly, which I could clearly feel from his half mask covered face, and then he said in a firm voice “Why not Google It!” and went his own way.
His answer gave me a shock as he actually spoke English in a very fluent tone which I had not expected from him at all.
I still wonder why he laughed that day. Maybe he laughed because I asked that silly question which made him feel that I am too hungry. Or maybe he just saw Google map opened in my phone and that too in China. (FYI: In China, Google apps are banned also does not provide accurate information).
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