Last year, I went to Shenzhen, China, for working purpose in August-September. It was a big leap for me personally since I also changed job for the first time, lol I've worked for 3 years in the same company previously. So I was both thrilled and nervous at the same time, but hey I love to challenge myself, so why not?
Let me tell you something, China has never been on my travel list before. Also, when I told my family and friends about this, mostly they were deeply concerned as well. But you know what, China is wonderful and that's why I went back for holiday with my friends earlier this year (will blogged soon, lazy..)
I was originally plan to stay for 2 weeks only, but turned out has to stay a bit longer, in total it's 30 days. Since I was there for working purpose, I was able to go out only after office hour and weekends.
I stayed at South China Harbour View Hotel Shenzhen, it is located in Nantou, Nanshan District. It's an old hotel, but my stay was quite nice. Funny thing is nobody speaks English except one maintenance guy, lol. I have few small problems with the rooms like I can't turn the TV on and it's all in Chinese......
Or the other day it was shorting and I was even redirected three times before somebody came into my room asking what's the problem (it's pretty clear that the room is dark though?). It took 2 weeks before the staffs at the restaurant finally able to greet me "Good morning" because they think that I was Chinese as well... There were few foreigners like African and Korean staying there though.
Lucky me, there is nearby shopping area just less than 5-minute walk from my hotel. There were various shops along the road and one shopping mall; Fun².
Though it was summer, it was already near the end of it and almost autumn, so the weather is really, really nice. Also, the price is super cheap and there are a lot of discounts at the shop nearby so I ended up shopping quite a lot. What's even exciting is there's MINISO outlet and WAL*MART store so every night after work I stopped by there. Stores in Shenzhen is closed at 10:30 or 11:00 PM, YAY!
But yes, have to admit the biggest challenge here is the LANGUAGE. I can't speak nor read Chinese, but luckily most of the people and store assistants are friendly! The younger ones even willing to open their smartphone to translate in order to help me! The older ones usually ended up writing Mandarin (silly but it's cute and kind) because they think I can't hear them properly..... But they're still nice.
During weekend, I went to several places with Marion; my Chinese colleague who studied Indonesian literature here. Previously, I never knew that there is Indonesian studies at universities in China, lol. And yes, she's fluent in Indonesian, so communication was definitely easier.
Qianhai Flower Park (Dutch Flower Town)
It was on my first weekend in Shenzhen and Marion kindly accompanied me to hang out. She told me that there's a flower park nearby, like just few bus stops away from my hotel. It is called Dutch Flower Town aka Qianhai Flower Market. Yes, it's a flower market which comes with a park.
Then we moved to the park area, it's full of parents and kids but still lovely and lively. I love the atmosphere.
We took a walk for a while and I found this sweet snack; Tanghulu! It was my first time, yes there were a lot of first during my stay here.
It is a traditional Chinese snack of candied fruit. It consists of fruits covered in hard candy on bamboo skewers that are approximately 20cm long. Traditionally, the fruit used has been Chinese hawthorn, but in recent times vendors have also used various other fruits, such as mandarin oranges, strawberries, or kiwi.
This place is the one that I really want to visit because I read it online. And from one of the articles said that "No Dongmen, No Shenzhen" yep, if you haven't been to Dongmen, well you haven't been to Shenzhen! 😂
It is a bit far from my hotel and we took the Metro here. In Dongmen, we met another office colleague; Shunny.
|Shunny is choosing what to eat|
|This cake looks and tastes just like Bika Ambon!|
I love the food, the seafood was fresh, delicious, and affordable!
Nantou Ancient City (Nantoucheng)
The second weekend I spent, unfortunately nobody was available to hang out with me so I just walk around a little bit with the help of VPN (so that I can use google map, because Baidu map is in Mandarin 😢).
And I found out that nearby my hotel is the Nantou Old Town; the birthplace of Hong Kong. Less than 10 mins of walk~
I was a bit disappointed though, it turned out that it's not that nice and it is already mixed with the residential area. The old building is not taken care and there's no English translation so basically I was just roaming around.
|The gate to Nantou Old Town|
But it's still left me interested to see how the past and present collides. Those old buildings are next to the cramped apartment and wet market, it's just, life.
When I was about to go back to hotel, I saw a museum so I just entered.
Not much to see but at least it has air conditioner (still summer though).
Shenzhen Bay Park Liuhuashan
I have to admit that it was pretty lonely there, I mean I can't speak the language and it's hard to find people that can speak English as well. But I met few people from Couchsurfing and prepared to be surprised and mock me: dating sites! LOL.
Yes, I met a fellow couchsurfer; Bing. He's really nice and super cool, he took me and Marion to dinner and a drive around the city. If it wasn't with him, I wouldn't have the chance to take a look at the city as a whole.
Then, I also met 2 guys; Nick and Elliott. To my surprise, I think Chinese guys are super nice and polite. Even though they speak English that well, they treated me really nice and made effort to communicate and brought me to nice places. Nick took me to Shenzhen Bay Park and there we rented bicycle.
Since this wasn't holiday trip, I didn't have chance to visit a lot of tourist attraction. But I can tell you that I came to like Shenzhen since the city is nice and well-planned (a lot of parks and trees). The transportation is nice, the people are nice in general. A lot of 'interesting' and new things that I discovered here. Food is generally nice lol and since I avoid to consume pork (though I know it's unavoidable), I ate more veggies here and the veggies here are super delicious!
The people are warm and friendly and I gain new perspective of life here. That's the most important thing. Good or bad, in the end I learnt something from here. People are very hardworking and warm. I know there are a lot of problems caused by Chinese tourists, but there's another side of them as well. They can be warm and nice, helpful and understanding, while being the toughest people on earth I think? I read and hear a lot of stories about how poor and devastated the Chinese people were back then.
And yes, I'd love to go back!!