From our accommodation in HK, we jumped on the KRC and took it north to the last stop. After a 20 minute ride we exited the train and after another 15 minutes we had cleared passport and customs. We were in China. Shenzhen is one of the wealthiest (from what we heard) cities in China but there is not much to see except for one attraction. When you exit from customs immediately to your right is a huge complex. The complex must be the pirated goods capital of world. In this building are hundreds of stores on 6 floors selling fake Marc Jacobs, Gucci, DVDs, golf clubs, northface, and more. No one had prepared us for this. Anyway, we had some fun negotiating as we purchased a couple handbags, DVDs and T-shirts. On a normal vacation, I imagine we would need to bring a large suitcase to pack everything we would buy. But, in our current backpacking status, we were reluctant to load up. We spent our evening and following morning buying some goods and we proceeded to the train station to catch a quick train to Guangzhou.
Guangzhou is a large city with a few sights to see. We weren’t particularly taken by the city so we spent one night. But we did manage to see one sight which was an underground tomb recently discovered by the Chinese in a hill. It was fairly interesting but with a lack of English signs and explanation, we did not learn as much as we would have liked to. We also spent our morning looking for a Thai Airways office which had an incorrect address listed by the Lonely Planet. But, as we’ve travelled, we’ve learned to use “the book” less and less. We’ve found that this is especially true with restaurants/food – the best places are those not in the book, at least for authentic cuisine.
The most unique aspect of our stay was Shamiam Island (tiny island – at most, one square mile). Our hostel was located on the island which is also home to the United States Embassy. As a result, there are alot of American families who are in the process of adopting Chinese babies. It seems that they have to spend approx one month with their new baby before the papers are finalized for them to go back to the US. Hence, there are quite a few parents and strollers walking around the island. Considering the loud and hectic city, this island is a great place for peace and quiet.
Almost forgot about the huge Walmart with live fish, frogs, shrimp and turtles. It’s awesome. We bought peanut butter – Skippy.