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3 Eventful Days in Shenzhen – Part II in My China Travel Journal

I was hoping to journal and publish more of my activities in China while still traveling in China. However, each day was packed with activities. Those activities coupled with a 13-hour time change impacts the body and mind. In short, if I stopped moving and sat or laid down, I was prone to fall asleep.

Now back in the states, I have time to formally write down and share my travel activities while traveling abroad in China. I technically started journaling these activities while in Chengdu, at least in terms of writing. The videos and pictures I took throughout my entire trip.

 My trip to China broke down into 4 segments:

      • 2-3 days in Shenzhen

      • Three days in Chengdu

      • My flight back to Omaha

    I will focus on my three days in Shenzhen in this blog entry.

    Day 1 in Shenzhen: Travel and Recovery

    My first day in Shenzhen focused on recovering from my roughly 30 hours of travel time and 13-hour time change. I woke up around 2:00 AM on Sunday morning to catch my 5:00 am flight out of Omaha to Dallas. From there I flew from DFW to Shanghai before my final flight to Shenzhen. I arrived at my hotel in Shenzhen about 11:50 PM on Monday night.

    shenzhen map in english 3Source: Toursmaps.com

    While I slept about five hours on my various flights and in airports, I thankfully did not oversleep either. As such, by the time I got to my hotel room early Tuesday morning after midnight, I was exhausted. However, this made me quite happy. I was optimistic I could get to sleep and quickly adjust to the time change.

    The Asian Cuckoo Greets Me

    Unfortunately, a local bird had other ideas. About 5:45 AM on Tuesday morning a hotel alarm went off. At least, I thought it was a hotel alarm. I was like, “You got to be kidding me!

    I got up, opened the door to my hotel room, and peeked out. Nothing. No light, no noise, nothing in the hallway. In turns out, the sound, or alarm, or whatever it was, was originating from outside my hotel room. So, I walked to my balcony (yes, the 5th floor hotel room had an outdoor balcony,) and opened the door.

    Asian koel male

    Source: Wikipedia

    A very shrill loud bird cry greeted my ears and assaulted my senses. Having determined the source of the alarm, or the lack thereof, I tried to go back to sleep. No such luck. The pesky bird continued its morning serenade determined to wake me up. It worked. About 6:15 AM I gave up trying to go back to sleep and got up.

    The fact that the bird was so annoying prompted me to research the type of bird it was. After various IM conversations, text exchanges, and Internet searches, I determined the bird was an Asian Koel. Appropriately, it is a member of the cuckoo family. (You can listen to its cry here by following this link to a Wikipedia site. Turn up the volume as high as your computer permits and that will give you a good idea of how loud it is.)

    Turns out this would not be the only time the Asian koel would interrupt my sleep. By early Tuesday afternoon I was getting tired again. So, I went back to my room to take a short nap, or at least what I hoped would be a short nap.

    Unfortunately, I ended up falling deeply asleep and woke up four hours later. However, I did not wake up by choice. Once again, I had my friendly neighborhood cuckoo to thank for my early evening wake up call.

    This time I was not so upset as I did want to get adjusted to Chinese time. So, while I still stayed up until midnight, I did manage to sleep most of Tuesday night and was mostly alert by Wednesday morning.

    A Quick Self-guided Walking Tour of Downtown Shenzhen

    China Village Shenzhen Pic2During my eight waking hours on Tuesday morning in Shenzhen, I left the hotel after breakfast and explored the surrounding area. Located right next to the hotel was a tourist attraction called the Splendid China and China Folk Culture Villages. This attraction appeared to have multiple restored Chinese houses in it though it was closed while I was out.

    shenzhen skyscraperSo, I crossed the highway on a pedestrian bridge and checked out some of the downtown area in Shenzhen. This downtown area struck me as a great blend of both modern and traditional China. On one hand, a skyscraper towered over the downtown area. On the other hand, literally in the skyscraper’s shadow, you had a thriving marketplace with many open air shops and businesses.

    My two favorite shops were Walmart and the dumpling shop. Walmart only because it was so unexpected. Further, it was unlike any other Walmart I had ever seen in the United states. Every other Walmart has a large parking lot. This one had a parking lot too. However, it was only filled with electric bikes and scooters, no cars.

    Dumpling Shop Shenzhen Walmart Parking Lot Shenzhen

    The dumpling shop also caught my eye. A small crowd had gathered in front of its glass window to purchase freshly made dumplings. One individual stood behind the glass selling dumplings. One could also see four people diligently making dumplings that would then be displayed and sold. (While I had never seen or even heard of a dumpling store before, I learned from my oldest son who lives in downtown Omaha that at least one such dumpling store exists in Omaha, perhaps more.)

    Day 2 – The Huawei Analyst Summit

    I will refrain from sharing any commentary regarding my activities on Wednesday, the second full day of my visit. During this day I attended analyst sessions hosted by Huawei for most of the day. I will discuss my observations and thoughts from those sessions in a separate, more analyst-focused blog entry.

    Day 3 – The Huawei European Village

    Huawei Campus Pic1The morning of my third and last day in Shenzhen started with a trip to the Huawei campus in Shenzhen. Known as the Huawei European village, it was about an hour drive from the hotel where I was staying to the campus.

    Huawei Campus Pic2To say it was remarkable really does not do justice to this campus where up to 30,000 Huawei employees work. Each building on the campus reflects architecture from a different European country. I am unsure if I remember all the architectural designs correctly. However, I recall my host saying there were minimally building designs from Germany, Poland, Switzerland, and France, among others.

    Huawei Campus Pic3Equally impressive, a train ran around the campus so one could easily and quickly get from one building to another. There were also restaurants in or near each building so one could get anything from fast food to traditional Chinese. For lunch, we ate at a buffet which was, again, very impressive.

    One should also note that construction on this entire campus only started in 2018 and was finished during the Covid years. This campus does sit outside of the Shenzhen city limits. While Huawei wanted to build it within the Shenzhen city limits, there simply was not enough land available. So, Huawei found some land adjacent to Shenzhen and built the campus there.

    Huawei Campus Pic7

    The Intercontinental Hotel Breakfast Buffet

    Finally, I would be remiss not to mention the breakfast buffet at the Intercontinental Hotel where I stayed. While it had some western food on the buffet, it had all sorts of great Chinese food.

    Noodles and Tofu Shenzhen BreakfastFor instance, in the US I never think of having fried noodles (Lo Mein) or fried rice for breakfast. Here, both items were on the buffet every day. (I may need to consider adding these two dishes to my list of potential breakfast options.)

    Shenzhen rice congeeThey also offered various vegetable stir fries and porridges. The spicy cabbage (or maybe bok choi?) was excellent as was the rice congee with various stir-ins. Of course, I am never one to argue with mushrooms with roasted oysters, potatoes bravos, pork dumplings, or roasted tomatoes and squash for breakfast either.

    Breakfast Potatos bravos Shenzhen

    Anyway, enough about Shenzhen. Stay tuned for my upcoming blog entry that will focus on my last 3 days in China which I spent Chengdu. If I thought Shenzhen was great, Chengdu was even better from my perspective.

    If you want to read about what it takes to get ready for China, you may read this blog entry about my preparations for this trip. If you want to read about why you should go to Chengdu and visit the Panda Park, read this entry.

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