24 August 2013


Finished up our business on Tuesday packed up to head east to Guangdong province.  It is actually a very short hop from Hong Kong (30 minutes by train, 50 minutes by car) until you reach the border of China.  Shenzhen is a pretty impressive city with over 10 million residents (bigger than Houston and the Twin Cities combined).  Lots & lots of high rise buildings.  By my estimate, there had to be 3-4000 people in each building. 

One of the guys I was traveling with informed us that there was a typhoon called Utor bearing down on Hong Kong that had pretty much hammered Manila earlier.  No real signs of it while we were in Hong Kong, but it did blow in on Wednesday evening with lots of wind and rain.  We asked the hotel staff if there was anything we should do to prepare, but everyone seemed to feel it wasn't anything to lose sleep over.  Our Chinese sponsor told us that their operations would be running rain or shine.  

Still, it we did get a lot of rain that kept us in the hotel for two nights so we did not have a chance to explore around town.  Spend both nights eating in one of the restaurants downstairs.      

I did try to get in a bit of running in the morning but was rainy in the mornings.  Some interesting shops downtown, but I did manage to spot a familiar name.

Wonder where they get their cheap stuff from?

No real picture of the areas we went to, but you did get a good taste of life in rural China.  The Guangdong province is highly industrialized with lots of industries turning out stuff to be shipped overseas.  Shenzhen is a huge port on the China sea and almost every evening, we would pass a long line of trucks waiting to load up their cargo onto the ships. Despite the industrial presence, we did see a wide variety of things that you don't find back home. 
Can you name the statue in the middle?
While the downtown area was sleek and modern, a lot of the outlying areas were more modest.  Some areas felt slum-like.  It really was a mixed bag.  Driving down the road, we saw BMWs, Toyotas, Buicks, Hondas, Mercedes and even a Cadillac along side of mopeds and bicycles.  A lot of people in a relatively small area.  It was interesting to spend time in a totally different culture/place halfway around the globe.

Being 13 hours ahead of Central time was interesting while trying to keep up with all of the news from home.  When it was 6:00 in the morning in Shenzhen, it was 5:00 in the afternoon at home.  When we got back to the hotel in the evening, everyone was waking up for the day.  Most of the e-mail traffic happened while we slept so we always felt a day behind the conversation.  What really struck me were the restrictions on information.  We had a pretty nice choice of tv channels to watch in different languages (try watching old episodes of Hawaii 5-0 in German), but the news was very limited.  I would be watching CNN when at times the screen would be blacked out for a time (can you say redacted?).  Not sure exactly what I was missing, but it does you appreciate the information we get at home.  I wondered if Fox News would be a completely blank screen over there.  And the restrictions didn't stop with the tv.  As I mentioned earlier, whenever I tried to log into my blog or anyone else's and kept getting an error message.  Even trying to access my e-mails through Outlook OWA was spotty at times.  It was a good thing my blackberry was working.  I was able to use my new toy to text momma back home to see how she and the mutts were doing, but that was only when I could find some available WiFi.  I didn't even try to use my iPhone except to take some pictures.  After what I paid for roaming in Belgium last month, I decided to forego the convenience for this trip.    

Up next:  room and board (with style)


Abby said...

Different place, that China. I was wondering about cheap China walmart stuff too, then read your caption!

agg79 said...

Abby - was interesting to find this Walmart located just across the street from the Prada store. Wonder if they get their supplies from Arkansas...

terri said...

It looks very overwhelming. The photos make me feel claustrophobic!