One of the first things I noticed upon arrival in Shenzhen is the prevalent sense of urgency that permeates virtually every aspect of daily life in Shenzhen. This is perhaps most evident when noticing the numerous scooters, bikes, motorbikes, and other forms of two-wheeled transport weaving through crowds of people on the sidewalks. The streets are flush with ringing bells from passing wheelists (not a word, but there seems to be a wide variety of two-wheeled commuters here), as they demand pedestrians to make room for them. It has been difficult for me to tell if so many of these people are actually in a rush to get to their destination, or if this is simply the pace at which they live.
I’d imagine other parts of China cultivate a much more laid-back style of living (especially rural areas). The rushed (for lack of a better word) pace at which this city moves is likely a product of being a highly modernized metropolis, especially one that emphasized efficiency and innovation (Shenzhen being dubbed the “Silicon Valley of China”). Moreover, having visited other massive metropolises (e.g. Bangkok, Buenos Aires), I cannot say their fast pace of life compares to Shenzhen. This rapid rate of living is something that I am not accustomed to, especially when considering that I’ve lived most my life in the Northwest (MT and OR), which has more of a laid-back reputation. I am nonetheless fascinated by the constant rush of this metropolis, as it stimulates and encourages me to adjust to this seemingly unprecedented pace of daily life. It has been a unique and rewarding experience thus far!
Consult Ayo for footage of Sam and me frantically dodging “wheelists” and cars among Shenzhen’s bustling streets.