July 4, 2010

Shenzhen, just north of Hong Kong, is the place where Foxconn has gotten publicity for the horrible working conditions in it's factories and that is where i land. it's dorm houses 500,000 migrant workers. talk about immense - the dorms alone houses more people than in most American towns. it is raining so it is not a good ferry day and instead i opt for the bus.

in line at the border crossing from China to Hong Kong i meet an American living in Shanghai. he is married to an Australian and they have two small children. he is doing some type of visa run. he gets pulled aside as we get to the immigration desk and i breeze past.
travelers get nervous at new border crossings. traveling independently we have to find the border, face the border guards, cross the nomans land inbetween, face new border guards and negotiate the gauntlet of potential scams all without the buffer of a packaged tour. we thrive on this. overland crossing of borders is like a rite of passage and the more remote the more esteem conferred on the traveling party.

when the American gets back on the bus he sits next to me and admits he is starved for some american talk. perfect. i hit him with questions and he talks nonstop for about 45 minutes giving me China 101 on the culture [or lack thereof], the education system [focused on rote memorization not critical thinking skills], healthcare [they take care of their sick], perception of westerners [not good] and on becoming a world power [he's happy to get paid in RMB]. lastly, i ask him if he thinks Chinese people will embrace western culture as they become a leading global power or if westerners will embrace Chinese culture. he thinks about this for a moment and responds that every major city in the world already has a China Town but there aren't any 'West Town' in Chinese cities.
there is a downpour that does not seem to want to end. two weeks ago in Hoi An I made a delivery of items i no longer need for homeless kids. a nalgene bottle, the black shirt Marti gave me, books and my umbrella. this storm is socked in and i have just crossed a boder, here's list of my immediately need to do. in the rain, go find a money changer or an ATM, get enough cash for lunch and an umbrella, sit someplace i can dry out and assess the area. i am up beat but no one enjoys dragging around bags looking for a hotel in the rain.
here in Shenzhen i see Starbucks for the first time since leaving Chang Mai, Thailand.

No comments:

Post a Comment