Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Study trip: Welcome to Shenzhen

I've not slept for so few hours in a long time. I think the last time I did not have any sleep was when I was doing my Honours thesis. I left the house at 4:14am so take a wild guess as to what time I woke up.

The plus side of a flight at that hour would be the empty seats on board. I went all the way to the back to be by myself. Er, ok, nearly by myself, as the air steward stationed at the back spent half the flight talking to me. He was helpful and friendly, sharing his flying experiences with me:

AK80 touched down at Shenzhen International Airport 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

We were delighted but the health officers came aboard to take our body temperatures and that took a long time. They were very stringent, even prohibiting passengers from taking photographs of procedures.

One member of our tour group had to be quarantined because she had a slightly higher than normal body temperature and had prescribed medication for flu and cough. So, I took the chance to meet the other members of our tour group while waiting for her. We also warmed up to our local guide, Mr. Chan.

We had lunch at the restaurant below when our group member was released.

Then, it was off to Splendid China and China Folk Culture Village. These two places are connected to each other and is set up like an amusement park. It reminded me of Formosa in Taiwan but a much bigger version. Here's a picture of Miss Liew, my roommate and myself in front of one of the many stages in the park:

I toured the place along with the two teachers from Seremban - Miss Chong and Miss Sik. I enjoyed my long conversation with them, exchanging our experiences and backgrounds. I finally understood why Mum said that I will learn lots just by getting to know the people in the group. Here are more snapshots of the place:

One portion of the park showcased the lifestyle of the many tribes of China. Some of the different architecture and agricultural activities were also presented such as drying corn...

... and cultivating tobacco plants (which we embaressingly thought were gigantic vegetable leaves)...

There were also dance performances. One resembled the Taiwanese aborigines very much.

They were actually from the south, bordering Vietnam, explaining their dark complexion. Curious with the skulls hanging from trees, I had my queries answered when they explained that the skulls of the buffaloes signify the status of a family.

After dinner, which was literally just next door, we re-entered the park to watch two musicals.

One word - breathtaking! Gosh, the costumes, colours, the stage and choreography were out of this world! Particularly noteworthy was the design of the stage. I was imagining the amount of money they poured into the place. Unfortunately, photography was not allowed so I had to rely on memory to recount the details.

Chang An Hotel was where we checked-in for the night.

After a quick shower, we headed out to scout for food and phone cards. We found out that it was not worth the money to purchase a phone card, as with RMB85 you'd only get RMB30 worth of calls. We stopped at a chee cheong fun cafe to have char siu chee cheong fun, porridge and ramen. We nearly went the wrong way when returning to the hotel. Haha, funny but dangerous.

After such a long day, we slept soundly in Room 804, opposite Mr. Chan and the van driver.

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