Hong Kong Diaries: PART IV (Shenzhen)

To be fair, this entry really shouldn’t have a place under anything having the title “Hong Kong” in it, but I make some exceptions here. Although not much geographically speaking separates Shenzhen and Hong Kong, the two cities are worlds apart.

A sign along the border reading, "Long live the Communist People's Republic of China!"

Shenzhen lies in the fertile Pearl River Delta, in between Guangdong and Hong Kong. It is known for being the first area to be made a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) by Mao Ze Dong’s successor, Deng Xiao Ping. In the late 70’s, it was just a collection of a few fishing towns. But since then it has been opened to economic reform, and over 10 million people call Shenzhen home. Because of its economic status, the majority of people are immigrants and thus don’t necessarily speak Cantonese, even though they belong to the province of Canton. I took a ferry to the mainland, because apparently it is a much more pleasant experience than crossing on land with the masses.

When I got there I went to check out a part of the border where people cross. There was a huge inspection type building with hundreds of flags posted on the outside. Just in case you forget you are in China, I suppose. I try to tell people that Hong Kong and the mainland are as different as they come, but it is hard to explain exactly why. Maybe this will help you understand; I was resting outside of a building, and a young mother walks by with her family. She stops a few yards in front of me, lets out a sound you only would expect from a lifelong member of the Russian mafia, and hawks a big loogie. Yup, this is definitely mainland. Welcome back.

Shenzhen is surprisingly quiet, with palm tree lined streets and an abundance of parks. It was a pleasant surprise, as I had figured it to be an industrial town that would be a nightmare to live in. That being said, there isn’t a whole lot for tourists besides some cheesy cultural fairs and amusement parks. My two days were spent mostly just walking the city and visiting the many parks.

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