Shenzhen part 1
Trip Start Jul 28, 2009
51Trip End Jul 27, 2010
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I had long wanted to travel to Shenzhen for a while. It is one of the richest cities (if not the) in China, and its right on my doorstep. For some reason i haven’t got my ass in gear to go there, despite wanting to go there in months. In fact saying that, there are many places in the Guangdong region that I would like to visit, which are easy to get to. For example; Kaiping, which recently got put on the UN’s list for world heritage because of its stunning ancient architecture. It has occurred to me that if I don’t get a new job soon I might not be in the country for much longer, time is running out
And I’m working next weekend.
Window of the world
Imagine all the world’s famous sites in a area of about a mile square and you’ll get the attraction ‘window of the world’. It does sounds OK, and it does boast many visitors, but its certainly not a place I would consider going to if I were travelling on my own. Expensive and tacky, featuring a replica of the Eiffel tower at 1:4 scale, it really was as bad as I pessimistically make it out to be.
I did have my camera however, so I was snapping away for a short period. I say a short period because unfortunately we had been slow to get to Shenzhen (which had nothing to do with me and Toby’s night out before) and by the time we had entered window of the world it was almost dark, so taking sharp photos became impossible after a short while.
After seeing miniature sculptures of the Taj Mahl, Notre Dam and the Sydney opera house I was about ready to leave. We made our way to the main attraction, the Eiffel Tower. The others decided to pay ¥20 to go to the top, I decided to stay firmly on ground level. Paying extra on top of the extortionate ¥120 fee was out of the question. Besides, I much enjoyed watching the spicy Arabian belly dance which was going on close by! I also walked about and found an ice skating show which was quite impressive, but didn’t capture my attention for too long. I think i can let you guess what i enjoyed the most out of the two.
I called up the others because it has been quite some time. They had mysteriously left the park without saying anything and were in HMV shopping across the road. Determined not to waste my money on the tacky place I decided to press on and see what else the place had to offer.
Indoor ski run and the Americans
Window of the world may have been really bad, but there was one thing that made it worth it in the end. As you can guess from the title, an indoor ski run. I still haven’t managed to satisfy my want to go skiing, but I did have one hell of a time going down the slope in a rubber ring. (I went for the cheaper option)
The first thing I really noticed was just how cold the place was. I know that it is common knowledge that below 0° conditions are going to be cold, but it was really cold, or at least my hands were. My only protection from the cold was a old and thin jacket that was provided to me when I went to the locker room. Gloves would have been much more appreciated though. I did have a lot of fun in my short time spent at the ski slope. After arranging to meet the others after an hour I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked, but I’m happy with what I got out of it. Took some funny pictures of my colleague Love whilst going down the slope in a rubber ring. ¥10 well spent I think. This would be the highlight of my trip to Shenzhen.
As we were leaving we were intercepted by an American. I will quickly fill you in on how this situation occurred - In China it is very rare to see another Westerner. You get so used to being the only Westerner that you sometimes ignore other Westerners when you see them (which is rare). You begin to develop the feeling that you are the only Westerner in China and that you’re very special. Ridiculously selfish, I know. But true.
So, I felt rude to ignore him when he said “Hello, where are you from?”, and so we began chatting. I learnt that his name was Patrick. I could tell he was alone because he was heavily interested in what we were doing later. So he was very happy when I said “Do you want to join us?”. Well, he wasn’t completely alone, he had a friend waiting for him upstairs; Steven. Also American, and an ex-colleague.
Let me give you a brief bio about Patrick-
He has been in China just as long as us, so he arrived in the country sometime in July. He is your typical America; gun loving, eccentric and he even tried to convince me that global warming was our great concern right now! He was only different from most Americans because he was in another country, but he did talk Chinese surprisingly well (which did come in handy). He had recently been fired from his Job as an electronic engineer. It was interesting hearing about his stories about the working conditions from around the area. After all, 75% of China’s exports come from this region.
He also managed to create an feeling never felt before in our ‘group’, paranoia. He was always warning us about the pick pockets in China. Sure they exist, but there is probably less crime in China than there is in the UK. At one point he battered away a innocent Chinese person saying “You’re beautiful” to Tilde, a blonde Danish girl. Probably the one time he got his hopes up to talk to a foreigner and he certainly wont be trying that again. He was also going for the typical tourist look, wearing his bag on the front, which kind of embarrassed me.
His friend was even worse, but thankfully we didn’t spent too much time with him. At first he was Ok, and I was impressed by his fluency in Chinese when he spoke to his girlfriend. He gave me some interesting tips about travelling, and was helpful. As we were about to part I asked him about his Chinese girlfriend. He casually mentioned her age of 16(!) and then said that he was 44! “Bloody hell” I said as I was getting his number. Some sick stuff goes on in China.. I really wish i said something looking back on it, but i acted as if it wasn't my business.