Travel Blog - Crasia Vol. 1: Shenzhen

22 storeys above ritzy-ass Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo stores, I'm listening to a jackhammer going on yet another construction project here in Shenzhen. These projects go 24 hours a day. By any stretch, even the most impressive projects in North America seem lazy compared to the way these Chinese work.

So here I am in the place where I can buy an iPhone and honestly say that it was locally made. I'm sure that'd fly pretty far with the tight-jean, moustache wearing folks who frequent the Drake Hotel. Support a local business! Buy a MacBook!

This place is pretty wild, but really not as crowded or dirty as I imagined it would be. It actually gives Toronto a run for its money in terms of cleanliness, and the people overall are pretty polite. There's a funny cultural education program going on, trying to teach people to be decent and civilized, and this ranges from announcements in the subway to way for passengers to first "alight", all the way to wonderful signs such as this one:

Lost in Translation, No. 18

Yesterday I was lucky enough to visit the reason this city - actually this entire country - is on the map. Well I suppose China would still be on the map even if it weren't for their manufacturing superpowers, but they certainly wouldn't have put a dent in the map if it weren't for that. And of course, what would a trip be if I weren't doing some time myself, working the lines?

Please do respond, and let me know if you think this would be a valuable photo to add to my LinkedIn profile. It seems to demonstrate a great deal of industriousness, and if I am ever looking for a job that involves punching headphone jacks into iPhones, I imagine all I have to do is show up to Foxconn and they'll hand me a jumpsuit without even asking for references.

Workin' the lines.

I did actually get to take a trip into the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, and visited a wild factory. Getting to see the inside of one of these operations that's putting products on our shelves is just mind boggling. It seems somehow like getting go behind the scenes at the old Temple, getting to see the elephants and pulleys that go into his levitation trick that makes people bow and sacrifice their finest harvest and firstborn children.

And speaking of the mighty Temple! Let's not imagine that this culture is free of the touch of commerce either. They're rapidly catching up to us, some of them with more money than they know what to do with, and others with a bit less. Of course, I was happy to find my 2 new favourite stores yesterday. I'm just waiting for our own retailers to catch up and start to name themselves like these gems:

Only women's knickers? With a sign like this, I hope they can find me a size.

And sorry Ming, you cats have a great tagline, but you could have done better naming your shop. I recommend something like...

Lost in Translation, No. 24

Oh... yeah. Chickachickah. Wowow wow wow. (Damn. Was intending to paste a link to the Ferris Bueller song by Yello but they don't get YouTube here! Use your imagination...)

But of course, if you'd like to get a trusted pair of knickers for your woman from a fine shop like Romantic Nice, you need to work your ass off. It's not unusual to see people sleeping just about anywhere. There are people here who work 27 hours a day, 9 days per week. And you know it's serious, because they sell Red Bull in a gold can. That's not the diluted European/North American bathwater. It's the Thai shit. You drink one of these and you can cut the word "sleep" right out of your vocabulary, because it's never happening again.

Clearly, this poor fellow hasn't discovered the Bull's magic. It may look like he's just checking his phone. Apologies I couldn't get a clearer angle. This cat is sleeping on the subway, using the frickin pole as a rest for his head.

Hard. Core.

I believe that's a sheep-counting app. Only available in the Chinese App store.

Well that's all for now. Let me use a bit of my new Chinese in signing off:

Bye bye!