WARNING!!! This blog is picture-heavy.
so i might as well jump the chronological order of my time in china. i’ve done a few extra things and had a few more interesting experiences. but since i was in hong kong over the weekend, from where i was able to use Facebook for a mass shoutout, let me just jump to that.
according to wikipaedia, “The name “Hong Kong” is an approximate phonetic rendering of the pronunciation of the spoken Cantonese or Hakka name 香港, meaning “fragrant harbour”. the truth is, i wouldn’t recommend swimming in the harbour right now… but that’s a different story.
we were invited on the hong kong trip by the previously mentioned professor and mrs darby. both have had a long previous history there and not only wanted to go back there to reanimate memories and stuff, they were kind enough to invite us to share the experience.
it was a long trip, which ate into the weekend that we would have.
road travel to the tianjin airport was nearly an hour, and the flight to shenzhen was almost 3… just like traveling from new york to ft lauderdale. in fact, there were other such similarities. tianjin is breaking into the spring much in the way that ny is. tianjin, remember, is in the north. shenzhen is in the south and its climate is more like that of south florida.
breathing in shenzhen kind of reminded me how much more noticeable fresh air is when you don’t have it for a while. it should be said that when the media speaks about pollution in china, the idea that comes across is that this is nationwide. that’s far from correct.
shenzhen struck me as a place i could live… but thats really an impression based on instinct rather than a deeper investigation. but the roads are lined with mango trees which were in blossom, so…
anyway, from shenzhen, we have to pass thru immigration to get to hong kong. this is really an interesting experience. read up on hong kong. it was under british ‘ownership’ for a long time until they were ‘forced’ to give it back to china in 1997. they however negotiated some special accommodations which came to be known as ‘one country, two systems’. in this, hk was to remain a separate country with its own borders, even for mainland chinese citizens. administration remained with the hk’ers for now but that will soon change. overall control lies in beijing, something the hk’ers resent.
anyway, from shenzhen we crossed the border into luohu (china)/lu wu (hk) for another 1 hr metro trip to hung ohm, which is the last stop and is regarded as hk. there also, is the island of hong kong, just across the bay. check wikipaedia (hong kong, kowloon, the new territories).
hk is regarded as a shopping destination for mainland chinese. however, as is not unusual for those colonized by the british, there is major contempt shown for ‘others’.
that’s one of the legacies of british colonialisation… leaving behind them a hot bed of confusion, destruction, mistrust and self-hatred. many of us think that as one-time british subjects, we are better than those who managed to keep free of british governance. aaah, how we fool ourselves. we, the consequence of british rule, need to recognize that the sun has long set.
there might be a saying, ‘when the dragon is inevitable, feed it… don’t antagonize it’. something the hk’ers seem not to grasp.
as we were there, there was a story in the hk newspaper about the need for legislation restricting the amount of tourists who ‘clog up the streets making it difficult for hk’ers to walk’. those words were aimed at tourists from mainland china.
however they will tell you, “the british have no money, the australians have no money, the americans have no money etc. the only ones with money is the mainland chinese”. there is some irony when those you are most contemptuous of are the ones who put food on your table”. ironical, yes. but not strange.
and then there is the politics of the whole issue. but that again, is another story.
so shopping is the thing in hk and the mainland chinese flock there. prices apparently are great. actually i found a few things i couldn’t find on the mainland so i was glad to visit there.
there are a couple interesting phenomena. on the streets, well tailored men will flock around wanting to make a suit for you. i doubt there is any other country that has this concentration of tailors. and they will make your tailored suit in hours, good cloth, at great prices. so if thats what you want, make sure to figure that in your visit.
another one is there is widescale fakery here in premium brands of bags and watches. touters will approach you telling you straight up that they have the best in fakes. they are not trying to con you, just making you know that you can con your friends for a great price lol.
another interesting thing brought to my attention, was that the scaffolding used in building these huge skyscrapers, are made of bamboo. think about that.
nathan rd (once known as the golden mile), where we stayed, is the main thoroughfare of hk, and i’m told that there is not many times when the streets such as nathan road isn’t crowded.
there were some other attractions but the short time and the weather (slightly foggy) made it impossible to visit. would i like to come back? of course. but i’m happy enough that that’s off my bucket list.
So we left hong kong and its back to tianjin via shenzhen. the long journey begins in reverse. but its not without some interests. this time we are travelling in the day and i gots a window seat. i’ve been in china
since what? february? yes… and this is the first rain i’ve seen… at shenzhen airport. i’ve seen rare droplets in tianjin, but this was rain, south florida/jamaica-style rain (awesome?). the weekend before, it was pouring in hong kong, so i’m glad we missed that. timing is everything.
as the plane drifts into tianjin airport, i was able to get my first view of tianjin by air. yep, it was no shenzhen. but then the air quality has been worse. i was able to see more of this large city, and its layout. being the end of winter, i’m sure the view isnt as sparkling as later in the spring.
i noticed the large tracts of unused land and hoped that they were used for farming. one of the issues of china currently is population drift. china is busy building new cities all over the place, and this is causing the youths to leave the countryside to seek better opportunities in the cities. history tells us where this is headed. many are urging that something is done to stop this drift of youth and labour by refocusing on the agricultural areas. but sometimes the obvious never gets done.
by the way, these cluster of buildings, are blocks of apartments, often as high as 20 storeys. these are not luxury apartments but housing for those perhaps considered middle class. and the concentration of people in one of those blocks could probably overrun the city of lauderdale lakes, south florida.
Bye for now. louis