Sea, more sea and sniffer dogs
Today was the day that we set foot on dry land once again after two days aboard the ghost ship that was the ferry from Japan to China. There are no words to describe how joyous an occasion the sighting of land was. Just a couple of hours after boarding in Japan cabin fever had set in and most of the journey passed in a semi-conscious, listless, bored state. There was nothing to do with only four different rooms to explore, there was nobody to talk to with us being the only English speaking people on board (not that there were many passengers, around forty all told), and it wasn’t long before we were contemplating throwing ourselves overboard. Not to commit suicide you must understand, but simply to find a way of livening up our time.
How did we end up on this ship of dreams you may ask? Back in 2011 when we were planning our travels with our superhero in disguise; travel agent Matt, he’d informed us that flights across from Japan to China would be an expensive option, nearly £500 each. Considering he’d managed to get us eight flights for around £1300 we were shocked at the price. However Matt as always had a few tricks up his sleeve and told us that there are ferry crossings between the two countries for much cheaper.
So a few weeks ago, having had to apply for our Chinese visas in advance, we’d had to provide the authorities with details of how we were entering the country, where we were staying and how we were leaving etc, so we did our research and found there was indeed ferry crossings between Osaka and Shanghai and for the dates that we needed. It certainly was a cheaper option but not an experience we’ll be repeating anytime soon.
Once we’d docked we practically ran down the gangplank with our bags and raced through the terminal. Land! We were on land once again! There was another reason we were racing through immigration though. We’d discussed it beforehand and decided we were going to risk trying to smuggle it through. We’d never tried to bring anything illegal into a country before and we were scared but thought it was important enough to try and sneak it in. Our hearts pounding, our foreheads sweating and trying to maintain an air of innocence we passed the guards, made it through the scanners and foolishly allowed ourselves to relax believing we had foiled security. That’s when we saw the sniffer dogs. Uh-oh, this could be trouble. We laid down our baggage and acted nonchalant. Rucksacks; ok. Hand luggage; fine. Aldi food bag; good. We breathed sighs of relief until the dog went back for another sniff of the Aldi bag. And another. Our hearts started punching holes somewhere in the region of our Adam’s apples as the guard motioned for us to open the bag. He reached down with a gloved hand and started sifting through our items. It was then in the tense silence that his movements ceased and a brief ecstatic sneer crossed his face at our Western impudence in thinking we could simply fool the security. He knew it and we knew it, the gig was up. His face stilled any protests we might have uttered and, with an atmosphere that couldn’t be cut, he stared us straight in the eyes as he pulled out the illicit contraband. He then waved it about for all to see and witness our shame before tossing it aside and begrudgingly letting us pass. We stared back at it knowing that we would never see it again, never cry at its opening and never enjoy its succulent taste. We took one last fleeting glimpse as it rolled on the floor before we rounded the corner and lost sight of our precious onion.
Rex’s Rules of the Road
* The ferry company we used was the Shanghai Ferry Co.. They were really good at helping with our inquiries in English and the food was pretty good!
* Take things to keep you entertained, a lot of things.
* No fruit, veg, meat or human blood allowed through immigration apparently.