A chapter has been closed and a new one opened! Here I am in Guangdong province, not really sleepless, on the contrary I’m fighting to keep my eyelids open. I have made some mental notes again. They mostly have to do with transport. Here they are:

  1. On China’s domestic flights, there is a safety demonstration video with children playing out possible in-flight scenarios. A boy, dressed in a top hat, is smoking a cigar. Another, a small girl, dressed as a flight attendant, is lecturing him. At the end of the video, a real flight attendant pats the children’s heads.
  2. When the TV was on at the Chinese home, there was a show where the idea was for youngsters to have blind-dates in a X-Factor-kind of format. The girls are sitting behind a wall, and the boys being interviewed aren’t allowed to see the girls until they’re allowed continuation. The jury consists of each of the girls’ parents. There are animated sweat drops popping out of the guy’s forehead when he’s being asked an unnerving question. There are flashbulbs and bouncing hearts as well. The host is a man primped up to look like a woman.
  3. Chinese people are allowed to drive at 160 km/h on the motorway.
  4. You don’t get out of the car when you need a refuel. There are “refuellers” at every service station.
  5. You need to go through fluoroscopy to get to the Shenzhen underground.
  6. Chinese people apparently don’t experience dehydration. I’ve seen them drink something perhaps two or three times a day, and very seldom during meals. Also, I had a feeling I was the only one using the loo at some point. This tendency had somewhat hazardous consequences: I myself was dehydrated for some days and didn’t realise it until I realised I hadn’t been to the loo for several days, and my face was feeling like a water balloon. Luckily, when I bought two 1.5 -litre water bottles, the puffy face had disappeared the next morning. (This actually reminds me of a similar episode some years ago in Helsingfors. I was swimming in the sea with my friend for hours. When we got out of the water, we thought we’d go and have a small drink. We ended up emptying a 10 -litre water tank alone together in three hours. Neither of us had realised we were that badly dehydrated.)

That’s about it for now. My friend’s holiday is over, and she had to return to Shenzhen where she is working. We drove here with her and her boyfriend all the way from Qiujin in one day. That makes a total of 14 hours of driving. I couldn’t imagine a friend of mine driving me from Tromsö to Helsingfors in a stretch. (Amira, the 7-hour-drive is going to be a piece of cake from now on!) They just told me “sure! We just need to get some energy drinks, we’ll need them in the evening”. Who are these people? 😀

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The three of us having dinner in Dongguan. The thousand-year-old eggs were actually good!

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My friends suggested that we should play “spot the Scandinavian” when they saw the photo. 😀

I have an inner checklist for what a city needs to be cosy. Bookstores have a high priority status. Therefore, on my first day in Shenzhen I decided to raid the Shenzhen Book City, a huge complex where I got lost (on purpose) for hours. People were sitting on the padded floor reading, and I splurged on children’s books, which are very handy for foreigners to read: the language used is simple, and they have lots of pictures. (The themes are interesting, too. The princess book title says “How the princess picks boogey out of her nose” in Chinese.) I was thinking of going to Dong Men as well, but since I’d have to carry my countless recently-purchased books around, I decided to return with them to my capsule. Yes, I’m staying in a capsule close to my friend’s place. 😀 And I was so proud to manage my first day in Shenzhen without using any English!!! And the Chinese actually understand what I’m saying!!! On a side note, I’d say you need at least an A2 level to manage in your daily life. I’ve only seen two Westerners I’ve seen in this metropolis of over eight million people. One was an American man in his 60’s, the other one a young businessman. It seems like Westerners are somehow afraid of stepping into Chinese society from the other side of the border, where Hong Kong lies. I can assure them there is no need to fear. Here you have some pictures I managed to take, when I wasn’t mesmerised by the book treasures I found.

Tomorrow I will go to my friend’s place and have dinner. I will also have a look at the Shenzhen electronics market. I’ll let you take it all in for now!

Mili

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