Shenzhen (Guangdong Province)
14.00 Paracetamols for breakfast before packing up our stuff for a thirteen hour train to Shenzhen. We had to go back to Guilin first which took a couple of hours; we then spent a few hours in a restaurant just killing time. Our train was a 21.30 pm and we felt rough all day, when we sat down in the train station all we wanted to do is sleep but we were approached by a Shaolin Monk who insisted to show me a few Kung Fu moves. I really wasn't in the mood to be used as a dummy whilst some monk shows off his skills on me. After about three moves the none English speaking monk uttered something and signalled he'd teach us more for money, I tried to explain that my train was due in half an hour but he turned on me and started waving his hands all over the place. All I was thinking is 'why me'; hangover from hell, sat there all quiet and innocent and now I've got half the train station looking at me about to commence in hand to hand combat with a Shaolin Monk. After he hurled a bit of abuse at us both the bad tempered monk retreated and fear soon turned into laughter.
We slept most the way arriving in Shenzhen at around 11.00 and caught a taxi to He Dong hotel 210rmb per night (£20). The hotel was nice and pretty close to the main shopping area which we walked around after a bite to eat in the hotel restaurant.
Shenzhen is situated immediately north of Hong Kong. Owing to China's economic liberalization under the policies of reformist leader Deng Xiaoping, the area became China's first and arguably one of the most successful Special Economic Zones. Shenzhen's novel and modern cityscape is the result of the vibrant economy made possible by rapid foreign investmentsince the late 1970s, when it was a small fishing village. Since then, foreign nationals have invested more than $30 billion for building factories and forming joint ventures. It is now reputedly one of the fastest growing cities in the world. This is quite noticeable with large skyscrapers, fast cars, private golf clubs and business men dressed in designer suits. Shenzen is also home of the Apple factory churning out millions of iPods per day apparently it's the biggest factory in China with 270000 workers.
After a spot of shopping and some food I was ready for an early night. We needed to be up early for our complimentary breakfast before exploring the city in more detail.
We missed breakfast; I think we were still recovering from the long journey and late nights. I still had a bit of man flu which seems to the longest case of yet. Half the population here cough, splutter and hock, it seems that I'm now turning into one of them.
The retail business in Shenzhen is highly developed with over a thousand commercial outlets spread out across the vast city. We headed to Huaqiangbei circle which is the electronic district, this place was unbelievable, I've never seen so many computer components, TV's, Hi-Fi's, and electronic gadgets, the place was crawling with people. It was too much to take in what with the lights, traffic and people, after a couple of hours of strolling around the large multi storied markets we caught a taxi back to the hotel for some food.
The fish I'd ordered came in a large stainless steel bowl resembling a bowl you'd give a large dog. A large dog might have just been able to finish this large portion but there was no way I could.
Our last day in China; we even managed to make breakfast on time. Other than breakfast the last day was spent watching films because the weather outside was dreadful (rain and thunder all day), we just hope the weather improves for when the girls come out.
Bags packed there was nothing left to do other than walk across the border the next day.
China has been amazing and we've definitely tried to make the most of our time here, we've seen an array of incredible things such as the Eclipse, The Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors and the mountains round the Li River. But we've also seen a lot of miserable sights such as the run down zoo, dogs and cats being butchered and people bullied to pay off the PSB for petty crime.
The majority of people in China are kind and warm hearted however the Government seems extremely corrupt and the PSB take the law into their own hands. I think freedom of speech is pretty integral to the human race and without it we're merely animals.
Favourite area - Outskirts of Yangshou
Favourite accommodation - Pingyao (Zhengjia International)
Favourite person - Mr Gow
Favourite food - Donkey hot pot
Favourite drink - Tsing Tao Beer
Favourite moment - Watching the eclipse from Pingyao bell tower
Worst area - Huaihua - cold and nothing to do
Worst accommodation - Mingyuan Hostel, Louyang
Worst person - Old people who push and spit in train queues
Worst food - Vac packed meat
Worst drink - Snake wine
Worst moment - Making eye contact with dogs about to be butchered
Favourite area - Pingyao
Favourite accommodation - Old skool hotel in Pingyao
Favourite person - Mr Gao
Favourite food - Dumplings
Favourite drink - Jasmine tea
Favourite moment - Drinking brandy on the great wall
Worst area - Louyang, basically a s***hole
Worst accommodation - Hostel in louyang
Worst person - Everyone who hocks and spits in restaurants
Worst food - Noodles with pig intestine
Worst drink - Snake wine
Worst moment - Almost suffering from hypothermia in datong
Summary of weird and wonderful food we've tried ...............
Live Fish Kebab