Rob’s Trip to China – Part 5 – City Center

The next place we went to was a large bookstore called “Book City” like Barnes and noble but bigger, and this was the largest location, it was four floors high (though Rachel was sure it was  five, and I teased her about that later.) and each floor was huge with lots of shelves and tables packed with books. One thing about this place is that it is on the weekends it’s normally packed with people, and many of them don’t go there to actually buy books, they will just sit there and read all day.

The computer section was enormous, there was at least a full wall of books just on photoshop, and pretty much every version ever made. I once again surprised Rachel by finding some books on Adobe After Effects on my own. It would have been great if I could actually read any of them…

From there we went out on the street. Typically this part of town would be packed with people, but residents tend to go back to their hometown for the new year. Since Shenzhen is a very new city, almost no one is actually from here, so when the holiday comes, it’s like a ghost town by comparison.

So in a sense, it’s not like it normally was, and I really didn’t get the feel of how busy and active it was. Even a lot of shops were closed during the week. From outside the bookstore she showed me the second largest and largest buildings in Shenzhen, and the stock exchange. I was really fascinated by the architecture here. There were some of the most unique designs I had ever seen. I could have spent my whole trip just taking pictures of buildings.


I was really starting to notice the traffic by this point. From what I saw, it seemed like I would never want to drive there. It’s like everyone does whatever, and it’s this mixture of overly aggressive and defensive driving, without the rules you see here. Even if they exist, they didn’t seem enforced. Cars would turn around on streets, and if you wanted to merge, you basically would have to force your way in, or it was never going to happen. It reminded me of a mall parking lot on black friday.

Because of this, I expected to see a lot of accidents, but I really didn’t. Rachel said it’s because generally the traffic is moving so slowly, people can stop in time. I guess that’s why the police were mostly on bicycles. It’s not like someone could quickly get away from an accident.

It seemed like the rules there were made to be broken. A sign telling people not to do something was generally looked at as an open invitation to do the opposite of what it said. It didn’t take me long to adjust to that concept, though. for example, if you were crossing the street, you could wait for the signal, but if you didn’t see much traffic, and you thought you could cross, then go for it. Rachel said I was beginning to think like Chinese…

There was a large billboard of a chinese man surrounded by flowers. His name was Deng Xiaoping, and he was the government official credited with making the city of Shenzhen happen.  His concept really didn’t get much support, but it turned out to be very successful.

We asked some other people standing nearby, who were also taking pictures, to take a pic of us in front of it.  It’s seems to be pretty common courtesy to do that for other people there, even if, under normal circumstances, most people try not to interact with each other.

We were walking back toward the subway, and stopped at this little street shop that sold little custard tarts.  As we were going to sit down, I saw something that I hadn’t yet seen in China… Other westerners!

It was actually kinda weird, like, “Hey, you aren’t from here!”, and on one hand, I felt a comradery, but at the same time, if I was back in the US, I wouldn’t thought anything about them. The thing is, I didn’t feel alone or out of place there. That was quite odd for me. I remember the first time I went into an asian market, I felt really strange, and that I didn’t belong there. Everyone seemed so different from me. I expected to feel that on an even greater level there, especially since It had been almost all day since I’d seen anyone from the west.

After that though, I did start paying more attention for westerners. more just out of curiosity, though. I think I only spoke to one westerner the whole trip. But honestly, it didn’t bother me at all. I felt very “At home” surrounded by Chinese. and although I got some curious looks once in awhile, I was just another guy, and nobody really cared. I just went about my business, and they went about theirs. I was very comfortable with it.

On to the subway…

Day1 album on Photobucket

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