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Archive for March, 2005

Ugh! Wednesday lunch both Mark & I decided to order steak at a nearby resturaunt, while all the local chinese ordered a bunch of stuff that we couldn’t read on the menu. And if we could have read the menu the question still remains - would we have wanted to order any of it anyway?

Mid afternoon Mark comes to me looking somewhat exasperated says “You feeling alright? I’m not feeling so good and I’ve got the runs”. “Nope”, I reply, “Feeling fine.” Good thing the office had it’s own loo. Within 15 minutes I was hastily dashing for the same room in the office. By the end of the day we both looked like I imagine someone who’s just had their first round of chemotherapy would look. That night neither of us ate anything or slept much.

Next morning we had to travel to a nearby city called Huizhou (pronounced “Hway Joe” for us Auissies) which meant 2 hours in a stuffy car in the rain. Numerous times I felt the need to tell the driver to stop but I resisted each time.

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In typical Chinese fashion our excursion to Huizhou started with a meal, well, it was more of a mini banquet than anything. Here we chose fish and other things right from the tank (see pic). Even though there was only 4 of us food was ordered for about 10. And it was freezing cold! About 5 degrees both inside and out. Despite my teeth chattering as I drank luke-warm tea it was some of the most delicious fish I’d ever eaten. Both Mark & I were amazed at how much better we started to feel after lunch.

It’s also here that I had my first experience of China’s ubiquitous squat toilet. With these things you’re not allowed to put paper down the drain in case it blocks up. Chinese drains weren’t designed to take paper apparently. That’s what the bin is for. Fortunately here there was paper available. In lots of other places in China you mightn’t be so lucky, so it pays to carry some loo paper with you. And hold your nose!

Drop Toilet

Onward and inland

Mark & I headed for Shenzhen, about 1 hour from the centre of Hong Kong, which was quite uneventful. Upon arrival at the border we were greeted by bored looking Chinese officials wearing navy coloured suits with shiny siver buttons. We were uneventfully “processed”. When you get out the other side you can see the Customs building that you come through. It’s a big grey brick when looked at on the Hong Kong side, but more interesting to look at on the Chinese side.

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Shenzhen city is right on the border with Hong Kong. When you walk out the customs building you are in a city of 10 million people. You then have 2 choices - walk to the train or catch a taxi.

Winding back…

Our move to China all started back in March 2005. I had been asked to go to Shenzhen to do some enginneering-level training. It was an exciting week and I’m sure the staff in the office learned quite a bit about our Clipsal C-Bus system (I had about 15 attendees most days) but I remember thinking at the time if what I was doing was adding any real value to the work they were doing.

In the mean time I had my first exposure to all the crazy things the Chinese do and the environment which they lived in.

After spending the first night in the hotel at Hong Kong airport I was met by Mark and we headed for Shenzhen. Hong Kong is just like any other big western city, except that it’s more densely packed and there was a lot more pollution than I was used to. They have an awesome underground rail system called the MTR (Mass Transit Rail). Trains run every 2 minutes!

Hong Kong harbour on a clear and sunny day.

Here is the harbour on a clear day. You can just make out the hills in the distance.

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