Back in October, all the Web Science students were asked if anyone would be interested in applying to go on a trip to China to visit in Tsinghua University in Shenzhen. Initially, I felt inclined not to bother. The far East has never appealed to me that much, plus I knew I would be busy with other things. Then a had a bit of a word with myself about taking every opportunity that comes my way…… never expecting to be chosen for one of six places….. but the next thing was here I am!
We flew out on a British Airways Airbus and managed to all get seats sitting together on the top deck of the plane. The flight was to Hong Kong – eleven-and-a-half-hours of potential misery stuck in one seat for the duration – but actually it wasn’t that bad. Digitised films now means that there was a huge range to choose from, including some that were very recent releases, plus TV programmes from the UK and the US (I experienced 45 minutes of Game Of Thrones, Season 5, Episode 1 just because I could) and podcasts, audio books and radio programmes. Sadly, the flight was full so there was no stretching out across unoccupied seats for a proper sleep, and in the end I only managed about three hours’ worth in fits and starts, but that was better then nothing.
We took a off at 6.30pm UK time, and arrived in Hong Kong at 2.30pm on Saturday. By 4.30pm, we were on a ferry from the port to Shenzhen. Sadly, the weather was grey and it was raining, so taking photos was pointless. By 10pm I was tucked up in bed, and managed to sleep right through until 7am. Jet lag has yet to make itself felt, so I think I may be ok. Today, we went for a walk around the hotel which is set in the most beautiful surroundings, and then went into Shenzhen city centre for a wander around and dinner.
- Few people speak English. Thank the Gods we have two Chinese speakers with us otherwise I’m not sure how we’d manage.
- Sprung mattresses may not be a thing here.
- Breakfast has many interesting features.
- The white lines on the road are purely decorative. And yet, somehow, I’ve yet to spot a car with a dent or a scrape. I can only assume they have self-healing properties and repair themselves overnight.
- Everyone is fashion conscious and well-dressed.
- You pass things over, and accept them, with two hands.
- There are almost no other Westerners here.
- Modern cities all look basically the same.