We took the train one hour from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, a city of over 2 million people. We simply walked over the border when the train reached the end of the line. Of course we had to go through customs & immigration. We had arranged for visas at the same time we did for the Beijing trip. Okay, we’ll be honest: the only reason we wanted to go to Shenzhen was to shop. This is the factory outlet mall for Hong Kong and what a place it was. Most of the merchandise was geared towards Hong Kong Chinese, but we managed to find some wonderful items at reasonable prices. For sale in Shenzhen, among other things are: illegal copies of CDs and DVDs, fake designer watches, fake designer handbags, clothing, tailored suits, shoes, Chinese curios, fabrics, electronics, jewelry, rough stones, pearls and even fake Louis Vuitton tissue holders. The only downside to the market was the aggressive hawkers and touts. The public transportation in Shenzhen was not well developed compared to Hong Kong, although a subway was under construction during our visit. Taxis were very reasonable with proper negotiation, so we were able to get from the market to our hotel, the Pavilion. The only catch was that we needed to have the name of the hotel written down in Cantonese Chinese for the taxi driver, otherwise they had no clue since they spoke no English at all. We spent our last afternoon at a large theme park named Windows of the World. This park promised to show the wonders of the world in single day. We went to see if they were telling the truth and sure enough they had representations of most of the worlds landmarks at 1/4 or 1/3 scale. We could have saved ourselves some time and just gone to the park instead of taking this trip! It was really a fun place and we finished the day with some good old American Kentucky Fried Chicken just outside the gate.
Kona Moment: The big "Aloha" written on the front of the New Zealand Maori meeting hall at the Windows of the World Park. Okay, so some of their facts were a bit off.
Starbucks: None seen
Weird McDonalds Menu Item: Didn’t see any McDonald’s
Cultural Moment: The unabashed piracy of Hollywood movies and computer software.