Friday, October 31, 2008

CUTI CUTI ASIA SHENZHEN (HONG KONG) June 19-24, 2008 (Day 2)

June 20, 2008 (Friday)
We got Broadband connection and China is pretty advanced in providing broadband access

Suboh was at 0430 and around 0500 I did not know what to do so I put on my shoe and walked out alone. I did not want to disturb Kakcik and told my wife that I was checking out the surrounding if there were anything decent for breakfast. I have no idea where I should be going but my instinct said to follow the main road behind the hotel downwards. By that time it was 0600 and the sun was already out and bright. The streets we mostly empty except for hard labourer pulling heavy carts for the customers. I knew there was a wet market nearby and most of them came out from there. To me that was an indication of a hard live for some of the residents of Shenzhen and I am pretty sure some of them are not locals. What they are wearing also like a uniform with license plat on their back. I guess the have to get a license to do such job.
0600 in the morning

A prove of global world. The bad thing it is creating a world culture at the expense of the ethnic uniqueness But would you ever thought of McD stack below KFC

Going to work

I knew there was a wet market close by and men pushing carts like this are common sight

In two hours this street will be jam packed with activities

Our hotel apartment

Still a lot of bicycles

I walked on until it was already hot, the heat was the kind that I used to experience while I was studying in the US so it was prickly. I worried about the others. In order to get myself familiarize with the streets and how things were in Shenzhen I walked west on the way back with the hope I could find something good to eat. That was when I realized that all the trees beside the roads were actually mango trees. They were quite nice and my only assessment to that was probably Shenzhen was built on top of swarm. On the map indicated that there was a train station close by and I tried to locate it. After a few turns it proved to be illusive and I abandoned the search. I found two bakeries but I was not confident in buying any of them. They looked delightfully suspicious with that I walked back towards Dongmen on my way back to the hotel. When I was about to get to the pedestrian bridge at the hotel I decided to have coffee at the McD there. By then it was only 0752 and it was already really hot. Of course by now there were a lot of people already on the streets including school children in their uniform. I ordered coffee and egg burger and stayed long enough to finish my coffee. By 0830 I was back in the room and ready to roll out with the rest to explore Shenzhen.

You may laugh at this but watch up they are learning fast and soon will conquer the world

Because of the heat I zigzagged in and out of the building sort of to acclimatize everyone with the heat. Once I thought they were ready we headed towards Dongmen for our official visit to Shenzhen. Of course Dongmen is famous for being a shopping zone where at nights the street will be filled with people from all walks of life. Neon lights would shine the street to look like a Chinese New Year day. There was no light of course when we walked the street and the obvious thing was China also was very much colonized by the business chains. Starbucks, McD, Body Glove, KFC and the like were everywhere. However the Chinese now are getting smarter. They made good on their years of being copycat by producing the own quality brands.

Every morning a crew will wash Dongmen

Dongmen coming alive

My target was the Laojie Metro subway station somewhere at the end of Dongmen but with the lack of proper direction we were of target. So with the map I asked several people. The first guy after looking at the map confidently directed to backtrack a lane and turn right but it took us to another lane with no sign or indication of the metro station. So I asked what looked like a street police man and it was even worse as he could not even understand us. Even with the map he asked us to turn back. We went around a bit until we just went with our instinct until we saw the small Metro sign on a wall of a shopping mall. Well, it was not even a mall but a building full with small time traders. We went down the escalator and suddenly the sign went dead and we were pissing off our steam until a guy who must have seen this a few times pointed us to the right direction inside the mall.

Just underneath the bridge was a Muslim restaurant

Their train service was excellent

I still remember when I was small having my hair cut underneath a rambutan tree

Our home base Metro station was Loajie, not sure how to pronounce that but we made do with Laojie, and the fare to Lowu was 2 Yuan per person so it was 14 Yuan for our family. The metro was brand new and efficient. I was told and read in someone’s blog that there was not any English signage then. I was really afraid of that and prepared for the worst. However I had a nice surprise to find Romanized name and English announcement on the train. I was really please and impressed. No doubt they have learned their lesson and learning very well. It was a short ride to Lowu and of course our destination was the Lowu Commercial Complex that was full with cheap, very cheap, fabrics and other stuff. It would be a field day for my wife and other ladies. From Loajie Lowu was just two stations away. If you have been to Shenzhen you know that Lowu Commercial Centre was just outside of the border point to HK. I have been there before. The weather was a bit hot then the usual again and we barely managed. Staying indoor was the best.option and we did not have any problem doing that as the place was full with cheap things especially fabric. What you can get there are cheap quality fabric and silks, all kind of fakes t-shirts, jeans, electronics, handphones and handbags. But I do not advice buying any electronic, well unless you have a lot of money to burn. The t-shirts were mostly top of the line fakes but you have to bargain hard. We were at this one shops selling t-shirts and stuff and we were ready to buy some. We started to cut the prices by half the lady came back with another price and suddenly in the middle of the haggling she started to quote us in US dollar. I was really shocked and stared at her astonished. Then walked in two Caucasians and seems to like another foreigner and the lady started to ignore us after we were ready to conclude the deal. We had selected a few already and we had to wait for her to deal with the other foreigners. Getting fed up with the treatment all of us just walked out. As we were about 20 steps away I heard her running and calling after us. We just ignored her and served her right as we were the ones with the money to spend. Then we just walked around with no particular things in mind. Or course Baqir was relentless with his nagging for handphones. I decided they were not worth it. In the end I just bought a few things and cut a suit at the price of 500 Yuan. I had to come back the next day for fitting.

We arrived at the place around 1115 and we left the place at around 1400 due to two main reasons.

1. The ladies almost bustered their shopping budget in record time, and
2. We need to find a place to have lunch.

We were actually not prepared for the first day and we made the mistake assuming that there would be at least a place to eat at Lowu. We actually went around the place as well as the train station and we did not find any. What we should have done was to pack sandwiches or something. But then the problem was we did not find a decent place to buy bread. People in China hardly eat any bread so another blunder on our part. We had no choice but to head for home and eat at the Muslim restaurant near the hotel. We were there at 1430.

After lunch we headed back to the hotel to rest. I was not that tired but because of the heat I decided we need to really cool off for awhile and maybe go out again after dark.

It was Friday night and Dongmen was strewn with all sorts of mostly young people. I saw bad influence from the west had already sat in the Shenzhen young generation. Their dressing and the way they handle themselves were westernized in so many ways. I would have loved it if it was a Sunday night market kind atmosphere but Dongmen was different. The smell from the food vendors and the place were something that we were not used to so we were a little bit uncomfortable. Worse when the beggars started to pester us excessively. Actually the place was not that bad as I said we would have enjoyed it. I was expecting it to be like Hong Kong but the mentality is obviously different. There wasn’t anything that attracted me to buy either so we just walked endlessly until we were bored and walked back to the hotel.

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