China Blog: Zhuhai/Zhubye

Fresh faced and clutching some McDonald’s breakfasts, we jumped into a car and started the drive to Zhuhai. There was no direct public transport routes from Dongguan, so we’d opted to hire a driver for this stretch of the tour to get us there in good time. Fortunately, our hosts in Zhuhai were able to help us book him, as he spoke very little Chinese – but told us he could speak fluent Japanese if that helped. It did not.

The trip was around 3 hours. For the first couple of hours we rested, not being used to such early mornings (as rock n roll badasses). Then things got interesting.

Since leaving Shenzhen, we had heard some talk about “the impending typhoon”. The weather had certainly gotten gradually worse since we arrived, with heavy rain and thunderstorms. Being the hardy travellers that we are, we didn’t think much of this. However, in the car on the way to Zhuhai, we received some unfortunate news: the weather was forecasted to be so bad that the ferry we had intended to take the next morning to HK airport was going to be cancelled. The last ferry from Zhuhai would be that afternoon, at 4pm.

The planned route from Zhuhai to HK Airport

We were then faced with the prospect of not being able to reach the airport for our flights home the next day. Should we play the gig in Zhuhai and attempt to take public transport in the early hours of Friday morning back around the coast? This didn’t seem like a plausible option, as Colin’s flight was pretty early and we couldn’t work out a sensible route which didn’t include ferries. We were left with no option but to cancel our last gig and try and make our way to Hong Kong that afternoon, before the transport closures. It was so disappointing to have to cut the tour short, but we all agreed that this was the only way we could make our flights on time.

Then the next challenge: relaying this information to the taxi driver. This poor gentleman had to contest with 4 non-Chinese speakers trying to communicate our new destination, and ended up pulling over on a busy motorway to try and make sense of it all. At one point we thought he was going to turn around and take us back to Dongguan, but eventually we got back on the road and decided to head to the venue as planned, and then enlist the aid of our host to communicate our change of travel plans. Thankfully, this worked out for us and we made it to Zhuhai ferry terminal by the early afternoon. We said “domo arigato” to Mr. Roboto and began the final leg of our journey.

We must give a huge thank you to our hosts in Zhuhai for helping us out and getting us safely to HK. We’re sorry we couldn’t play at JHC but hopefully we can return soon!