So here I am at Shenzhen, China – standing in front of the Spring Cocoon which is a big sports centre that obviously looks like a cocoon.
I don’t always wear socks and nikes with my dresses but this was day three of our trip and I knew well and truly by then that you weren’t always going to open the door to the ladies and find a toilet sitting there. I was well over the shock of seeing a hole in the ground or a grate in the floor no matter how fancy the neon sign outside is and if I can give you one bit of advice about travelling to Asia ladies it would be to strengthen your thighs and to pack dresses. Because its a hell of a lot easier to use a public squat toilet in a dress than it is trying to wrestle your jeans and undies around your knees while keeping your shoes clean while there is a line of people waiting just outside the door.
Shenzhen was an interesting place. It’s just over the border from hong Kong, about an hours drive. We went through customs and immigration and met up with our guide who spent the day with us. She was so open in talking about life as a young women in China and she had such a great sense of humour. It must be hard to talk up a place that offers you such restricted freedom as a citizen but you could tell she loved her home even though it frustrated her and her knowledge of the history and customs made it a really interesting day.
It’s hard to believe that just 29 years ago this place was a fishing village, now it’s all high rise and financial centres.
I asked her about the cars everyone was driving, how they were so new and where were all the old bombs and she said that people only started driving cars there ten years ago, she laughed and said they called it The Peoples Republic of Bicycle. Still plenty of them around.
Here we are taking a break outside the Lo Wu shopping centre.
It looks harmless enough from the outside
But don’t be fooled, this shopping centre is not for the faint hearted, oh no, this centre rates shopping as an extreme sport. Five levels and almost two thousand shops – be prepared to be followed and badgered and touched and asked about five hundred times if you’d like a rolex or a handbag. But oh my, do they have some handbags.
Not that I like handbags. I’m not much of a shopper at all so once we’d had a look around we went for a walk about outside. We tried to buy some KFC but they wouldn’t take hong kong dollars.
Which was why we were hanging around on the street with Daz waving his $10 about saying he needed a drink which immediately attracted the attention of the one armed beggar. He made a beeline straight for us and then they started arguing and I just stood looking over the railing at the promenade. It was part of the train station and everyone was getting off with cardboard boxes, not suitcases. Some people had five or six boxes packed and strapped. All those brown things people have are packed boxes.
Anyway I heard Daz say – No man, I need it and I thought – really? you really need that $1.20 more than his homeless armless man, but then the police turned up and made him go away anyway. There were a few people begging but you see way way more in Sydney.
I think China is somewhere I’d like to see more of – such an interesting history. I’ll add it to my list.