There is a short bridge that marks the border between Hongkong and Shenzhen. Sunken cages filled with fish occupy the waters on either sides—economical, yet a bit comical as from a distance, they almost resemble fuzzy black caterpillars. A few more stops into the heart of Shenzhen and the Cantonese background banter you have grown used to slowly morphs into Mandarin. You can read the signs of more storefronts now; thank you very much, simplified characters.
The buses do not sport daily cleaned seats nor do they ascribe to any rigid traffic rules. At a particularly sharp corner, you almost believe your ride is going to capsize, but the soothing Mando-pop music playing from the speakers provides some degree of solace. You subconsciously hum along to the song because your father used to sing it in the shower: Eason Chan’s Long Time No See, ironically quite fitting for the situation. And even before the cheese float of the rose oolong tea you ordered hits the bottom of your stomach, you feel warm.