Today we are off to Shenzhen by train, and starting to get the hang of traveling through China!
They were offering free bottled water at the train station, which was great. But as we walked through the turnstile, Quirky Guy had a little problem with his ticket. The man providing the water told him to jump over the gate, which he did. Then we had to wait at another gate, which made us feel like herded sheep. When the gates opened everybody rushed for the train, and there was much confusion when we discovered we were in the wrong seats. We tried to get up and move to the other end of the carriage but it was blocked, and with our bags it was virtually impossible. Most people had sat down so Quirky Guy went ahead and found the right seats, but some arrogant people in front just wanted to pass us preventing us from moving. Eventually with some frustrated words they backed off allowing us to grab our bags and move towards our seats.
The train moved off and in a flash we were at Shenzhen. We grabbed our bags and went through the turnstiles. This time Quirky Guy got half way through but the gates closed on his bag and jammed stuck. He tried to force it open but the security yelled and then opened it. A passenger translated that the security man had called him a “troublemaker” !
We eventually got to our hotel, Best Western Felicity. Check-in was nightmare because we ordered a room for three but only got two single beds. The porter, BoBo, soon realized the predicament and called around and worked a king room with a trundle bed to come. BoBo was very helpful for what could have become a calamity.
We called John our China assistant and shipping co-coordinator so that we could finally meet him in person. It is not custom to hug or kiss hello in China, so I can imagine how funny our greeting must have looked.
John doesn’t drive so he had a driver, and the destination was his new factory. He is very proud that his business had grown big enough to have a factory. He had someone go get some drinks and then he set about getting us some fruit. The fruit was like a lemon on steroids – it was so big and the skin was really thick. It looked like the inside of a grapefruit. We told John not to peel it all because we probably wouldn’t eat it, but we loved it and had it eaten in 5 minutes flat! It must have looked like the Quirky Team hadn’t seen fruit before! But we just loved the taste of the giant lemon. Still not sure of the name, but it was so delicious.
John showed us around his factory and the one below. It was basically lots of people doing the same thing over and over again. John then said he wanted to take us to the beach for dinner. We were not sure what that meant but off we went in the car with John’s driver. Everything in China is not far according to John, but it is far.
We eventually arrived at the beach, well we would say the sea but clearly no sand or access to the so-called beach in any way. There were lots of western restaurants, Mexican, German, Irish, you name it was there. We headed for a large old boat that had been turned into restaurants and clubs on different levels.
John didn’t realize but as we were walking he had walked through wet cement, which caused great amusement. We went to the top of the boat to a German restaurant for dinner. John loves to drink German beer and eat western food, but he didn’t really know what to order and his idea of drinking lots of beer was a pot, he was so funny.
We ordered our western meals and discussed all about what happens next and the things to do in Shenzhen. John had a list of things he wanted to show us. The custom in China was for the host to pay the bill, which wasn’t cheap but John made sure he paid the bill.
Then it was time to go to the hub of the technology China – Central Market. It was a very large street with every building and shop selling computers or mobile phones or parts for security cameras etc. There were more phones than we had ever seen in our lives. We wondered who used all these phones, my god there were so many! We walked around for an hour or so and then went back to the hotel in a cab.
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