Having heard nice things about ShenZhen, I decided to take a slower route from HK to Vietnam by stopping by ShenZhen, GuangZhou and take the bus from NanNing into Hanoi. Of course, also because I can then meet some old acquaintances on the way.
Being a fruit of the economic boom in the past, ShenZhen looks slick and modern. Clean streets and well built infrastructure give you a warm welcome. Since most workers are from out of town, during the New Year, there is almost nobody in the city and most stores are closed down. Many opened restaurants are short staffed and were not able to service many customers at once.
On the hills just behind the central government building, one can overlook the new city center. Tall buildings stem from the ground forming a modern city center. I think it looks really like any modern city. There is no iconic buildings that I recognize.
Otherwise, I was not able to see much from the city since I was busy meeting friends and doing laundries. I was able to quickly peek into the library and saw many people studying there.
You can see a reflection of the educational system on their desks. Most people are just doing mock exams, only mock exams. Someone is studying English by writing down vocabularies. In the end, what is the most important is to pass the entrance exam into the universities. How will the knowledge be applied? That is not very much taken care of in those days. I am not saying that the western system is better, but it provides you more possibilities to apply what you have learned and pushes you more to think yourself.
I met mom of a friend of mine, and her friend. I was the best man at her wedding and we know each other from that event. She kindly invited me to her home as well to chat and see how my friend’s wife grew up. The older lady is learning Chinese and is currently visiting ShenZhen to pick up more Chinese. She would regularly return to China and intends to do so in the future too to continue learning Chinese.
I also met Tao, with whom we started our studies at ETH. We were discussing about the current Chinese society. Anger, unhappiness, fear is spread in different society levels. And if you don’t get loud, some people just don’t take you seriously. The effort for dignity in your normal life is way too high. It is a bit ironic that you actually needs to shout or being angry in order to be treated what we consider normal. And just as it happened, I heard someone wants to change some laws in China.
It was nice seeing you guys again, hope next time won’t be too far away.
Me, in Ninh Binh,