Jeff was off from work on Saturday, so we decided to go hiking. We took the subway to the southwestern part of Shenzhen to Nanshan Park. Above is a photo taken on the way to the subway entrance. The sidewalk is practically empty. No vendors, nobody waiting for the bus, and almost nobody walking. This city is empty! Also, notice the sign. It actually shows a picture of a car and an arrow pointing to the road, and a picture of a person and an arrow pointing to the sidewalk. In many other places in the world, you would not need a sign like this to point out that cars belong on the road and people belong on the sidewalk! But I have lived in Longhua long enough to know that people will walk in the road and cars will drive on the sidewalk unless they are warned not to do so.
I saw this orange tree Chinese New Year display at one of the fancy high rise apartment complexes on the road to Nanshan park. I took a picture of it because I was amused at how they were combining together decorations from two holidays, Christmas and Chinese New Year. There are poinsettias (Christmas) surrounding a New Year orange tree with little red envelopes hanging on it. These red envelopes are traditionally given out to family members with money inside during the New Year. Then behind the New Year tree is an artificial Christmas tree, with orange and gold garlands on it. Gold is a color that is always used on New Year decorations as it is believed to bring gold (good fortune) in the coming year. An interesting blend of holidays!
I have observed that in China, they like to put two things at their park entrances, gates or large rocks with the name of the park carved on them. Nanshan park had a rock with its name instead of a gate.
Nanshan is not really a mountain; it is a group of hills on the southwestern pennisula in Shenzhen. From the tops of these hills, you can look across the strait to Hong Kong.
You can also see the harbor and Shenzhen on the other side.
This was a funny sign on the railing at one of the scenic overlook points. I know they are trying to say don’t climb over the fence, but it really looks like he is trying to take the fence. And in China, I could definitely see why you might have to say don’t take the fence!
This park had many nice things about it.The landscaping was beautiful, the paths were wide and nicely paved and maintained, there was no trash strewn about, and the views were great. In many ways, this was the nicest park that I have experienced in the Shenzhen area. This is likely because it is in the section of Shenzhen where most of the expats live. The section of Shenzhen that we walked through to get to the park had luxury high rise buildings, clean streets, familiar franchises like Subway and KFC, and restaurants and bars with names like Irish Pub. And there was English on all the signs and the counter help in Subway where we ate lunch all spoke excellent English. I almost felt like I was walking around a city back home in the states. There is no doubt that it would be easier for me in many ways to be living there instead of where I am in Longhua. But I would not be getting to experience China in the way that I am now. So I definitely prefer “embedded” living in China to the Expat experience!
I really thought that there would not be an “only in China” moment on this outing, as we were walking around a section of Shenzhen that felt more like home. Then I say this sign in the subway station. It says “Innovation Encouraged and Failure Tolerated”, with a picture of a strong man breaking a frame. Does the Chinese government think that posting slogans on large signs in subway stations will change people’s behavior? We shall see if it works!
At the end of the day, we had a New Year’s Eve dinner in the only restaurant in Longhua that was still open. All five of us pictured in this photo are everyone that remained in our very large dorm building. Simon is from Toronto, and Jim and Kelly, his wife, are from Houston. All (North) Americans, who did not go home to Taiwan for the New Year. It was a great dinner!