Day 1 of my trip to Southern China. December 14 2010. It was really warm for winter this time round. I was hoping that the temperatures would hover around 13-17C. But I was disappointed. The whole time I was in Shenzhen and Hong Kong temperatures were between 17-25C, very warm for a winter in December. The tour guide told me it was because of global warming. Well, I had to try to believe her.
Anyway, lets start with our journey to China. We arrived at Chek Lap Kok Airport in Hong Kong on the first day of our trip. After meeting our tour guide for Shenzhen, we left in a bus for Shenzhen customs which was a 45 minute bus ride from Hong Kong’s airport. It was a hazy day. I couldnt see the view clearly outside my window. I thought it was pollution, but the tour guide said it was just fog. Hmm. Maybe some winter phenomenon?
We started the day by visiting the Window of the World. It has all the exhibits of famous buildings around the world like the Eiffel Tower in Paris. We didnt spend much time though, and took some photos before leaving for shopping for Shenzhen’s specialised goods like tea, silk, and their lucky charms. At night, we went to Dongmen Shopping Street to shop. There wasn’t anything suitable for me to buy though, since most of the things there were either imitations or winter clothings. But I had a good time experiencing the life in a Chinese city. I can tell the people in Shenzhen come from different parts of China because they all have different Chinese accents. Anyway, the street is totally different from Singapore’s Orchard Road. Its a pedestrian street, and they dont sell any branded goods like they do at Orchard. Those brands are usually found in the higher class districts in Shenzhen. The people there spit on the floor, and the shopkeepers throw rubbish on the street when there are dustbins everywhere. The dustbins are also small and filled with rubbish. No one clears them. The people push you around and shove you like an unwanted guest. They are rude to visitors, and the service standards are surprisingly lousy given that Shenzhen
government officials have been coming to Singapore ever so often to learn from Singapore’s economic progress. And one of the key factors that drive Singapore’s growth is the service sector. Our service standards may not be as good as Japan’s, but compared to Shenzhen, they have a lot more to learn.
Then we went to China Folk Culture Village, a theme park in the middle of the city. It was rather cold and quiet that night as it was a weekday. There were many Korean tourists though. We bought a S$50 each ticket to watch a performance of the different cultures in China. It was an eye-opening experience for me even though I am a Han Chinese myself. Lol.
On day 2, we took a 3 hour ride to Zhuhai. It was really tiring after all the shopping and sightseeing the day before. But I was still happy nevertheless, because I felt so good to leave Singapore for the second time this year after going to NS. This time round, I felt so much more relieved because I just dont like my vocation at Tengah. Lets not talk about it anymore. Sleeping on a bus for three hours with some occasional stops felt really good for the first time in my life because I don have to worry about things happening in camp. Before long, we reached the toll station leading us into Guangzhou. There were still some ‘effects’ from the recent Asian Games in Guangzhou. I saw huge banners welcoming visitors to Guangzhou, and security tents set up at the statio were still there, but security was definitely not as tight as before. It was a cold day, about 16-17C, with the thin jacket I was wearing ( Shenzhen was about 20C the previous night). We reached Zhuhai in the evening, after so many traffic jams. Zhuhai’s main city center does not look as pretty as Shenzhen’s, but as usual, it was bustling with people and activities. Zhuhai is famous for its cheap shopping and seafood. We went for dinner at a seafood restaurant at night. The food was good. It was rather unfortunate that we did not try their signature dish, oyster. After that we explored Zhuhai’s famous Lover’s Road and the Fish Woman Statue, equivalent to our Merlion, only not as famous. 🙂
After that we left for Macau, which was just across the Zhuhai straits. We had to
cross another immigration customs, before reaching Macau. Macau is very beautiful at night, as all the buildings and casinos are beautifully lit up with neon lights and signs. The most eye-catching building was the one shaped like a flower. Wow. Definitely breathtaking. We checked into a hotel Grandview Casino, which has a casino on the ground floor. My relatives and I decided to try our luck at the casino jackpot. We also applied for free membership, which gave us HKD$15 voucher for eating at the casino. The food is good though, which I believe is made to lure the gamblers to the casino and stay there all day without going hungry. Smart asses. Anyway, I lost money, but I pressed the buttons for my cousin and she won. Hmmph. Bad luck for me I suppose. I promise myself not to go to a casino ever again because in there, everything to you is money. When you see yourself losing money, you start panicking and want to play some more to win money. Its a scary place, and I wont want to be connected to it in any other way anymore. 😦