Visa Run: Beijing To Hong Kong

Reasons you could be making a run to Hong Kong vary. For me it was the expiring of the 30 days duration on my Visa. My F visa expires next year, but the duration of stay for each time I enter is 30 days only. Couldn’t I just get a visa extension? I did. But before a quick one-day visa run.
But from my experience, you’re only allowed to do that once. You can read more on my experience extending my visa here. I went to Shenzhen, took the subway to Hong Kong and back, just for a Exit-Entry stamp.So at about 4:30 am I take a taxi from Chaoyangmen to the Capital Airport. I tried to find a bus running at this hour, but with zero luck. I reached the Airport at in about half an hour (which usually easily takes more than 1 hour during daytime) and took my flight from Beijing to Shenzhen.
At 10:30 am I was at the Shenzhen airport and already on my way to the famous Lo Wu Port.
The subway can be easily seen as soon as you exit the Shenzhen airport. Taking the Line 1 (green line), straight from Airport East Station to Luohu Station, I got off and walked out right in front of the Luo hu Port in which I walked right into immigration in Hong Kong.
Getting the HK visa only takes about 30 to 45 minutes at max. After which you find yourself at the MTR train station at Lo Wu. I tried to just get right back in Immigration back into Shenzhen but that isn’t possible.
After getting 100 RMB exchanged into HK dollars enough to buy me a train ticket I get off at the first station –Shang Shui. Few minutes later I got on a train back to Lo Wu and got through immigration (with my fingers crossed), and what do you know, I’m back in Shenzhen by 2 pm.
I took the flight back to Beijing at 5:30 pm and I was back in the capital by 8:30 pm.
The most useful resource was the Mtr website. Hong Kong train operator MTR has updated its customer website so that users can not only search the route, time and fare of Hong Kong train service, but also the underground system of Shenzhen.

For your knowledge there are four land border crossings between Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

Lo Wu

Probably the busiest and most popular border crossing among the four. Best part is that there is a busy shopping mall at the Shenzhen side. The last train destined for Lowu border departs from Hong Hum, Kowloon at about 11pm. I read up that this crossing would be crowded during public holidays but having gone during the national holidays (5th October) I did not come across any unusual crowded-ness till I reached back to Beijing.

Lok Ma Chau/Futian

This border crossing is a diversion from  the Lo Wu one. It is also connected at two sides, Hong Kong and Shenzhen, by railway.

Huanggang/Lok Ma Chau

The biggest advantage no doubt is its 24-hour operation. You can find buses and taxis going to/from the border 24 hours. And the biggest disadvantage lies in its traffic and immigration clearance arrangement as you have to get off the bus to clear the customs and immigration of Hong Kong, and then onto the bus to go to the Shenzhen check point, and off again- if you go in the direction of Shenzhen, and vice versa.

Shenzhen Bay

This border crossing is used by vehicles only, as it has no rail connection at both the Hong Kong and Shenzhen side. This is its limitation. But since it is closer to the Shenzhen Airport, the bus to/from Shenzhen Airport usually uses this crossing. The immigration and customs clearance for both Hong Kong and Shenzhen lies under one roof, a stark contrast to the Huanggang/Lok Ma Chau border.
If you take a taxi from Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon of Hong Kong, for instance, it takes only about half an hour to reach the Shenzhen Bay border, and costs about HK$220. It probably takes you 10-15 minutes to clear all the customs and immigration. Right after leaving the customs and immigration hall, there is a taxi stand – you can take the taxi to anywhere in Shenzhen. (http://annatam.com was a great resource)

Living in Haidian vs. Living in Chaoyang

A First-hand Experience into moving & living in Major Urban Districts: Haidian and Chaoyang in Beijing, China

Beijing is spread across 16,801 km² with a population over 20.18 million (20122 census). The vast size and the constant economic growth of this city are a vital part to what foreigners are attracted to and the possible reason they promptly leave the life they were living in their own country and move here in the City of the East.
Beijing Municipality currently comprises 16 administrative county-level subdivisions. But in this post, I am only going to be focusing on the districts located at the center of the city and moving from one end to another. In the heart of hearts, lies Xicheng and Dongcheng. Moving further away, between the 2nd and 5th ring road, lie the major Urban Districts: Chaoyang, Haidian, Fengtai and Shijingshan.
The central part of Haidian’s economy is the Zhongguancun electronics district, which hosts the Beijing offices of many software and computer technology companies. Whereas, Chaoyang is home to the majority of Beijing’s many foreign embassies, the well-known Sanlitun bar street, as well as Beijing’s growing CBD.
Having lived a major part of my time in Haidian, an educational district, with the majority of universities located here, it is definitely going to be a change to be moving to the Chaoyang district, to be more precise- Chaoyangmen. The Chaoyang Gate (the Gate Facing the Sun) was the main gate of the East City. The gate was demolished, along with the walls and moat of the East City in the 1950s and replaced with the 2nd Ring Road where the moat and walls had been.

 

One observation that cannot be ignored is that Haidian is more relaxed than the ever-busy Chaoyang. I am most certainly 2 minutes walking distance from Starbucks which, just by the way, I regard as a complete hype for absolutely no reason at all. I’ve tasted better coffee, better food in the most local of the local places. That is my one line review of the God-knows-why-famous Starbucks. In Chaoyangmen I live right across what seems to be the Russian District. There are numerous cafes, shopping malls all Russian. There are plenty of foreigners on this side of the city. H&M, Suning, U-town, Walmart, Costa coffee, Mc Donalds and even Burger King join the list of places within 5 minutes from where I live on Chao wai nan lu.
A walk on the Chaowainanlu, and the Russian malls are all around this place, also a very interesting find is the lack of Chinese restaurants and a bunch of stores selling fox skin. It was shocking to see the amount of skin people had outside their stores, very casually just counting the number of dead animal fur.

Although this Business District is suppose to impress, it fails to do so as compared to the Haidian soul. Good inexpensive chinese food is hard to find, and this is a vital point to focus on as is good housing, places promoting themselves for students. A good location is mostly all that matters, not only does the apartment count, but don’t forget to also look carefully around the locality you choose to live in Beijing.

Kaskade: In The Atmosphere Near You!

It’s been a smooth ride for the well-known DJ/Producer Kaskade to where he is today- an incredibly evolved artist beginning his career with releases of deep-house grooves to collaborations with other equally talented artists and touching the top of the charts with his siiick electronic beats. In 2000, Kaskade started working for Om records where he released his first single ‘What I say’, which was only the beginning of numerous other singles that reached top 10 on the billboard magazine while some just missed. Even since, Kaskade’s career has only grown and so has his music.

 

Little known by his real name Ryan Raddon, Kaskade is an American DJ from Chicago and has lived in New York, LA, Tokyo, and San Francisco which earned him the nickname “Big City”.
Only a few years later in 2006, Ryan signed up with Ultra records and went on to collaborate with Electronic DJ Deadmau5 only to come out with their famous single ‘Move For Me’, which became his fifth top ten hit on the Billboard’s Hot Dance Airplay Chart, then their follow-up single ‘Angel on my shoulder’ also found success on the dance charts and finally ‘I Remember’ peaked the UK singles chart.

 

 

In addition to all of this, Kaskade is also associated with names like Summer of Space, The Sellars and Late Night Alumni with the angelic vocals of Becky Jean Williams. Kaskade’s work and Late Night Alumni can be heard together on their single called ‘How Long’.
Kaskade blends himself with other artists almost too smoothly. Kaskade does not fail to give every song he produces its own charm, having its own distinct tune, feel, it inevitably grows on you.
His album Dynasty has some of the most amazing work that describe his music on a whole. I still remember the first time I heard Fire & Ice, and instantly favored Fire more.
Kaskade with this album, it seems, has tried to expand his sound which explains why each song appears twice — once with a more uptempo fuller “Fire” mix, contrasted by a stripped-down “Ice” version.  A captivating album, like the previous works by Kaskade, Dynasty is a collection of the most impressive vocals with the unique touch of his quality and production polish. Its styled like your average Saturday night adventure which only slowly grows on you as you move more late into the night.
With the title track sung by Haley Gibby, Kaskade adds to his credit another number one on the Billboard Hot Dance Airplay track. She can also be heard in other tracks like ‘Only You’ which is in collaboration with Tiësto and another mellow upbeat song ‘Don’t Wait’, along with her more popular song on his latest album Fire & Ice  called ‘Llove’.
You can hear the stunning vocals of Polina Goudieva on songs like ‘Human Reactor’ and ‘To the Skies’. ‘Start again’ with vocals by Becky Jean Williams has a magical outset and rides on those notes throughout the song.  But when it comes to setting the dance floor on fire no track does it like ‘Fire In Your New Shoes’ featuring Dragonette and the electropop edge she brings to the song. ‘Say It’s Over’  featuring Mindy Gledhill is another track that makes you fall in love with it, also featuring in Fire & Ice  on the famous number ‘Eyes’.

From the collection of Kaskade’s work apart from his albums, ‘Can’t Stop’ from his mix called The Grand  is a personal favorite, along with Kaskade’s remash featuring Tommy Trash (& Location Location) with the name ‘Step One Two The Day Before’.

 

Fresh off his It’s You, It’s Me Redux Tour, not so long ago, last year, he earned the distinction of the first Electronic Dance Artist to ever solo-headline LA’s STAPLES Center venue during the biggest North American tour of his career, the Freaks of Nature Tour.
And this 42 year year old is not done yet. Be expecting his new single, “Atmosphere,” from his forthcoming album on June 10th through all digital retailers. The album, Atmosphere, will be the follow up to Kaskade’s GRAMMY-nominated 2011 album Fire & Ice.

 

Even though, on his albums, the listeners are presented with a range of vocalists, each and every song manages to have its own persona. It brings with it, its own appeal and ties you up in its own rapture That’s the magic of Kaskade’s music and this sort of impressive artistic command over his music is the reason why Kaskade is here to stay.

Confucius to Coelho

The Alchemist. We’ve all heard about this best-selling book. What makes this book talked about, read and accepted so much is the fact that it makes people want to dream. Something that Paulo made us realize- how important it is for us to want something, to stay focused. That brings me to his most famous quote:
“When you want something, the whole Universe conspires to help you realize your dream.”
My first Paulo Coelho book was Veronica Decides to Die.
I was in high school at the time and chose this book to read probably because my curiosity got the better of me and I ended up extremely intrigued with the title. I clearly remember, when I read that book, I knew there was something different about it. The way the story was told, how Veronica felt deep inside was described with simple words and yet they explained such complex feelings. The concept of something as complex as wishing to die, death as a whole and how Veronica saw it was slowly being understood by me. It was at that moment, I was without a doubt fascinated by the way Paulo thought.
I then went on to read other books by him. Each book, giving you a reason to think, to think hard, to argue within your head. What I think I’m trying to say is that Paulo’s writings are not only different, it also encourages the reader to think, make his mind up about the issue or situation which I have yet to discover another author doing.
Paulo is the real storyteller, and such that, while delivering the story to his readers he is able to make such amazing statements that have even made me think for a couple of days straight, and sometimes even overwhelm me!
Other remarkable books, Eleven Minutes, The Zahir, The Witch of Portobello, each tremendously different from the other, each containing a very thought-provoking issue that the author deals with. I’m pretty sure the Paulo fans know what I’m talking about. After reading a couple of books by Paulo I use to yearn for a book, which had his quotes, and the next thing I came across was The Warrior of Light. A bible for us followers of The Light. I dedicate my first blog to this amazing author who never stops making us want to think.
Coelho might idolize Confucius, but I am very confident when I say that Coelho is the Confucius of our generation. Paulo, you inspire us, you give us the meaning for living. We could never thank you enough.