Shenzhen travel log. Day 0: Arrival day

S

These are the quick & dirty travel notes from a trip to Shenzhen, China. Read all posts from this series here (tag: ViewSourceII), or all blog posts relating to Shenzhen here (tag: Shenzhen). The latter one includes last fall’s trip to Shenzhen as well.

For the first time I arrive by ferry.

View from the ferry

A new terminal opened up. The subway doesn’t connect yet, so shuttle buses are the interim solution. The super short immigration lines make it so worth the extra distance and slightly longer travel time.

///

Buying a new data SIM for the mobile WiFi hospital I got last time. The fourth shop seems to sell them, maybe. But my request still seems unusual, or maybe the language barrier is too high. Maybe it’s just that they don’t want to sell me anything that not the perfect fit; folks Herr know how it be price sensitivities about the these kind of things. At one point, no less than 7 people are conferring about my case, at least 3 of them using translation apps simultaneously. In the end, 20 Euros buy me 6G and I’m happy.

///

The large construction site from our last visit has turned into a giant, quite enjoyable pedestrian area.

New Shenzhen pedestrian area

///

On the sidewalk, under a small quad copter a mini robot balances what looks like a human-sized coffee cup. Turns out it’s a big roll of packing tape.

///

Old v new: I love the constant contrast in China.

Hand-drawn cart on a construction site

///

I walk by some urban villages and am surprised to find them surrounded by fences, like a gated community. Who’s keeping whom in, and whom out?

///

Brightly color share bikes are everywhere. Orange, blue or yellow: Bike sharing is huge in Shenzhen.

Share bikes

Alas, without a Chinese bank account it seems impossible to rent them, or maybe I just haven’t figured out how.

///

With my non-Chinese bank account, my credit card is often useless. What’s worse, I can’t hook it up with Wechat to pay for things. With cash I’m often clearly a nuisance when it comes to paying: people have to leave the cash register to handle bills, or ask their colleagues for change. In Shenzhen it’s all about in-app payments.

///

From the hotel’s glass elevator I spot a small urban rooftop garden on a neighboring building:

Urban rooftop garden

///

The number or drones is mind blowing. There’s a constant buzz along the main street, that special angry insectoid buzz of small quadcopters. Two older men carry still-boxed drones, a mom carries one marketed as “flying car” toy. Young shop staffer show off the their remote controlled airborne wares by flying them over and into the crowd and back.

///

A club ad on a giant video screen: “Shenzhen. The changes of the times. 21 years of brand precipitation.”

///

5 o’clock: the selling is done for the day. Shenzhen has shifted gear into fulfillment mode. Boxes, stacks of boxes, piles of boxes wherever you look. On trucks, bikes, hand-drawn carts, or shoulders: the city is digesting it’s electronics and getting ready to excrete them. In neat, tape-wrapped boxes.

About the author

Peter Bihr
By Peter Bihr