One day I was in Hong Kong and had the opportunity to go to China. Living in Toronto, this was a big deal for me and I had no idea what to expect.
I went with three colleagues from work – 2 who also live in Toronto and one who lived in Hong Kong. We had to get a visitor’s visa and some Chinese money to use (RMB).
We took the train from Hong Kong to Shenzhen and looked forward to our day.
When we arrived, there were several checkpoint lines to go through and papers to fill out and it seemed like there was more security than airport travel in North America. (imagine that)
We started walking down one corridor and I veered left when I should have stayed to the right. A kind gentleman (I assume he worked there, but it wasn’t clear) stopped me and redirected me to the right side of the room where I joined a line and reconnected with two of my colleagues. I was relating how I had been directed here and wondered how the man had known I was headed to the wrong line. They pointed to the signs that said “foreigners” and “citizens”.
I asked how the guy would know I was a foreigner. One of my colleagues laughed as he told me that I was the only blond, white girl in the whole room and the guy probably didn’t have to think too hard about it!
When you come out of the train station, there are lines of young women. These are the ‘second wives’ or ‘week-end wives’, women who are waiting for men who come from Hong Kong to spend the week-end with them. The men pay for a nice apartment near the border of HK and China, and the women spend time with the man when he is taking time off his important (and lucrative) work in Hong Kong. The men are often married to the first wife in Hong Kong and go to China for some relaxing time with the second wife where they don’t have any worries and are always welcomed.