Friday, August 21, 2015

A Few Sights in Shenzhen

Shenzhen is located in Guangdong Province, in the Pearl River Delta bordering Hong Kong.  I can get back and forth from the Hong Kong International Airport by shuttle, subway (Metro), or ferry.  However, when I fly down from Shanghai, it's much easier to fly into the Shenzhen Airport and take the Metro into town.  Just as in Shanghai, the 1-1/2 hour Metro ride from the airport to my hotel costs 7 RMB ($1.10 with the newly devalued RMB).

Shenzhen has a tropical climate and is currently hot and humid, around 90ºF (32ºC) with 90% humidity.  My friends in Shanghai told me it would be cooler in Shenzhen than Shanghai, but I don't think so.  There's a reason that bougainvillea, hibiscus, and colocasia (elephant ear) grow so well here.

Colocasia growing along the sidewalk

And, the sidewalks have natural shade.

 Tree-shaded sidewalks and bike paths

The Ping An Financial Center in Shenzhen is still under construction, but when it is completed, it will be the second highest building in China (after the Shanghai Tower).

View of downtown and the new Ping An Financial Center

A few months ago, The Daily Mail interviewed Wang Hua, an operator of the crane on top of the Ping An building since 2009, and he told them that he has the best job - he has to walk up hundreds of steps to get to work, but the view is incredible, when it isn't in the clouds.

In the 1970s, Shenzhen was a sleepy little fishing village of a few thousand people.  Then, in 1980, Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping waved his magic wand and made Shenzhen a Special Economic Zone.  Now it has 15 million people and is a hotbed of industry.

There is a great statue of Deng Xiaoping at the top of Lianhuasha Park, with a view platform facing downtown Shenzhen and the Shenzhen City Hall.  

Deng Xiaoping statue in Lianhuasha Park

 City Hall from the view platform in front of the Deng Xiaoping statue

City Hall view from the plaza

Lianhuasha Park covers about 80,000 square meters and has some good hikes up and down, to and from the statue and over other hills to the far side of the park.

Steps up a hill in Lianhuasha Park

As a relatively new metropolitan area, Shenzhen is very modern.  Sometimes I think that I could be in any modern city in the world and it would look like this.  However, Shenzhen also, as a new city, took the opportunity to set aside land as green space and has over 800 parks scattered throughout the city.  As I walk around in the morning, I observe people on in the parks, waking, hiking, exercising, flying kites, or just hanging out.  I enjoy walking around Shenzhen and just watching the activity around me.

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