A Portion Of Warmth, Please - Part 1

"I want to go to Disneyland in Hong Kong!"

I found myself staring at the received WeChat message for a good few minutes, before I eventually responded, asking my friend when she planned to go. I'm not a fan of Disney, nor am I really interested in spending a day at Disneyland, but I am most definitely a fan of Hong Kong, especially the food.

Within a few days we'd made plans for me to come down to Shenzhen to visit my friend for a few days and even though we didn't actually manage to go to Disneyland, something my friend was rather miffed about, we did have a blast. On the bright side, I managed to get a full refund for the tickets we booked. I do have some magic tricks left up my sleeve!

View of Shenzhen from Mt Lotus in Lotus Park.
From Wuhan the most convenient way to get to Shenzhen is via the bullet train, it takes about five hours and is a lot less troublesome than flying. Wuhan Tianhe Airport is in the middle of nowhere and although connected to the city by a more or less regular shuttle bus, there is no subway and post people opt to get to the airport by car or taxi. From where I live it takes me about an hour to get to the airport, so I mostly try to avoid it. Wuhan's train stations are easily accessible by subway and it takes me about half an hour to get out to the high-speed railway station. Quick, convenient and no traffic jams, just crowds of people shoving in and out of the subway cars, but when you live in China you get used to that. In fact you'll start pushing and shoving yourself because you know that you just won't get anywhere if you don't.

When I arrived, the first thing Shenzhen impressed me with was the mild temperature. I immediately peeled off a layer of clothing, much to my friend's amusement. The last couple of weeks have been rather cold here in Wuhan and it snowed quite a few times, enough of a reason for me to escape for a few days. Wuhan's winters are somewhat nasty, no matter how many layers you are wearing, the wet cold seeps right through, making it impossible to stay warm, unless you keep moving around. My air conditioning's been set to 30 degrees Celsius ever since I got released from the hospital in November last year.

Shenzhen on the other hand is wet, very wet, but the temperature is mild and the wind continuously attempt to freeze your nose and fingers off. It gets a little chilly in the evenings and it's not pleasant first thing in the morning, but it's definitely much better than Wuhan.

I was also impressed by just how clean Shenzhen is. Compared with Wuhan, drivers have a much better attitude and people don't push as much getting in and out of the subway/light rail. I found it fairly easy to find my way around the city, of course it did help that my friend has been living in Shenzhen for the last year or so.

It was great to catch up with friends and meet new people, enjoy amazing food and walk, walk, walk.

Shenzhen Bay
The bay area is simply fantastic, amazingly clean and to my utter astonishment all public toilets we visited were equipped with toilet paper and soap. In Wuhan the toilet paper would be gone within two minutes and the soap would most likely go unused. You know you've been living in China for quite some time when basic things such as toilet paper and soap excite you. To my disappointment the shopping malls in Shenzhen are equally as badly constructed as those in Wuhan. It's very easy to find the entrance but almost impossible to find an exit in the maze of shops once you enter. So if you have a credit card or some spare spending cash, don't tell me I didn't warn you. You'll end up getting so frustrated about not being able to find your way out that you'll spend money you hadn't planned to spend.

Despite my time in Shenzhen being rather short, we still managed to have plenty of fun. It involved food, more food, walking, more walking and did I mention all the food? I spend five days stuffing my face with divine Guangdong cuisine and still managed to lose a kilogram.

Dim Sum

Hot Pot

I can finally tick 'cycling in the rain' off my bucket list, although I'm not sure if that was ever on my bucket list. I also climbed a palm tree, well okay I admit I didn't really, I just pretended to, and of course took plenty of pictures. At some point I visited a marriage market and got chased after by some guy who didn't dare talking to me and fleet up a mountain to escape his advances. 

Anyone looking for a husband or wife?

We also managed to got lost in the local park and discovered a lake that my friend never came across before, despite having visited the park four or five times over the course of her stay. When I told her that all Chinese parks have lakes, otherwise they don't qualify, she laughed and told me that I'm more Chinese than her.

Attempting to climb a palm tree.

Cycling in the rain

I just loved all the greenery. Shenzhen is green, very green indeed.

Everything's wet and green, green and wet.

Posing on the grass beach by the bay

Two happy campers, stuffed full after Dim Sum

The lake my friend didn't know existed

More beautiful greenery!