So today was, for me a fairly early start. I was out of the residence of Hilzo just after 10am. Gutted that I missed the Escalators going downward I trudged down the stairs to Central MTR station. (To Clarify it’s a LOT of stairs… 20 minutes worth!)
From Central, I jumped on the MTR and three trains later arrived at the Boarder of Hong Kong with Mainland China. (AH!). Having been allowed to leave Hong Kong, I then had to find the visa office to be allowed into China. As I was pre-warned.. It’s not Clear.
I eventually found the escalator, took a number, filled in the “application card” and waited. Thankfully within 10-15 mins my number popped up on the screen, and I was able to go to the first window. At the first window I handed over my passport, and was stared at before being told… “Processed”. Then I had to sit and wait to be called to the second window, where I paid, before another wait to collect my passport from the third window, now sporting a lovely whole page sticker!
Having been allowed in, my bags went into a metal detector and out of the station I went. I wandered down into the Shenzhen Metro station and tried (and failed a few times) to get a ticket to the Currencies Direct office in Shenzhen. Eventually a plastic coin dropped out the machine… after I’d put in the equivalent of about 40p. It would appear that would be my ticket. I scanned my bags again. (every Subway station in Shenzhen requires a bag x-ray!) Waved my coin onto the barrier and down into the metro I went.
It’s very similar to Hong Kong and mostly in English so was easy to navigate and soon enough I was at the station I needed to get off at. Dropped my coin in the slot and left the station… I found what I thought was the office but due to a slight confusion wasn’t so I jumped into a taxi up the road (a whole £1’s worth of Taxi!) to the right place.
Once inside I met my lovely colleagues out here in Shenzhen and one of them treated me to a pizza. Worryingly while waiting I could smell loads of chemicals… not sure where they were coming from but the pizza tasted fine!
It was interesting to learn that where the office is located, is the “New CBD” opposed to where my hotel is located which is now the “old CBD”. All the Finance Institutions are now a bit further out in bigger buildings with more space!
From the office, I splashed out in another taxi (I think it was £3.50) to check in to the hotel. Again, 5* … this time a little less luxuary than the Galaxy but perfectly adequate. (A bit aged, but I paid £73 for a 5* room, what can I really want?!!)
From the Hotel it was a quick 5 minute walk up to the metro station and a 10p journey to the Stop where I was going to find the Electronics Market…
The electronics market was frankly nothing like I could have imagined. There was just so much. In fact, there was much too much. To start with I was overly excited, but an hour or so in, and I was fed up, lost and confused! I’d managed to accidentally make it over to the Phone accessories market and was sick to the back teeth of phone covers!
I eventually fell out of the building onto the street about 400m up the road from where I’d started. I took a wonder back down and started in the electronics again being very careful! ( I did manage to buy some items in the phone market though!)
Back in the Electronics market, I was again, excited but soon bored once I realised I was on floor 3 of 10… I was really hoping to see something innovative that I’d never seen before which I could buy and bring back. Sadly I saw nothing like that. I did however see ever component under the sun, every cable, every connector, every of everything.
I was also overcome with the strange regulations with regard to smoking. Despite lots of components, including gels etc, and the numerous signs saying “No smoking” there were still large numbers of stall holders puffing away, or groups of people playing cards between stalls puffing on fags! Weird to see nowadays post “Smoking ban” in the UK!
I decided that had I have had an explicit shopping list I probably could have done well, but just to browse, I got bored. I decided I’d head back towards the boarder (but not over!) to the Louhu Commercial City.
What a bloody experience. 5 floors of Real, fake, real genuine fake, goods. Mental. Every store tries to entice you in with their chat. In poor English including their catchphrase “Just looking”. (Hilzo’s brother reckons someone once said “Just looking” and it’s caught on… I’d agree)
At the recommendation of a friend, I paid one of the sellers a visit and ended up staying about 3 hours. But we got what we wanted in the end so all was good!
I also managed to add some T-Shirts to my collection… let’s hope I can get all of this back in my case! Overall a successful day.
I headed back to the hotel, Tried to go to the revolving restaurant on the 50th floor but it was sadly closed up already, so headed down the road to the Golden Arches.
It had started raining and I was genuinely a little worried about the acid that might be falling from the sky! I did notice today that there was a haze for most of the day and I’ve had a headache, and my eyes have been a bit weird feeling all day.. I can only attribute all this to pollution. FUN!
Also interesting is how much of the internet is restricted in Mainland China. If you’re reading this from facebook, best you don’t ask how I posted it on there… strangely messenger seems to work (the facebook messaging app)… weird!
Anyway, I best get to sleep before my last day and flight home tomorrow! 🙁 Night all!