To Be Rich Is Glorious

Greetings from Shenzhen, everyone!  I’ve only been here since Wednesday and I can already tell this is going to be an awesome summer.  Shenzhen is like no place I’ve ever been before, and with over 14 million inhabitants it’s one huge, loud, vibrant, Chinese party 24 hours a day.  
There are new things being built on every corner and it seems like construction crews work non-stop on new high-rises, public plazas, and infrastructure projects.  I’m not joking when I say that every morning on my way to work, I notice newly constructed things that definitely were not there the night before.   The other day on the way to the office, I saw two landscapers putting in trees in a pedestrian mall.  Less than two hours later they had planted around 100 of them, and by lunch they had installed  a new overhead lighting system and put in maybe 30 free-standing kiosks.  Caroline and I have a running joke that one day we’ll get back from work to find a new cineplex where our hotel used to be.

Deng Xiaoping once said, “Poverty is not socialism.  To be rich is glorious.”  As China’s most affluent city and first Special Economic Zone (SEZ), Shenzhen is the embodiment of this statement.  14 million people live here, and I’m pretty sure at least 13 million of them love to shop.  Shenzhen is proud of this fact, and multistory mega-malls seem to exist on almost every block.  On weekends Shenzheners pack the metro and head out to places with names like Louhou Commercial City, Coco Park, and King Glory Plaza.  Today Caroline and I decided to go out and experience this Shenzhen specialty and it did not disappoint.  We saw arcades full of Chinese gamer kids, silly graphic t-shirts, and hoards of people looking to spend their hard-earned yuan.  Capitalism is alive and well in China.

In other news, I got a bike (on loan) from a co-worker (thanks Mr. Ke)!  It’s comically small and foldable, which seems to be the most popular type of bike among Shenzheners.  Though I haven’t had too many opportunities to ride it, I hope to use it on my morning commute on Monday.  I wonder when the next critical mass is?

There’s so much more to share, including the first few days at the office, but I’ll save that for a later post.  Also, get ready to hear about Macau because Caroline and I are headed there tomorrow.  I’m putting 100 yuan on red, because apparently it’s good luck in China.  Zàijiàn!


-Alex

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