Arriving with run-in
There was an event in August set up for new people and old to meet new people and to discover more about the city we live in, Shenzhen. This event was called a “passport” event, because little booklets with places for stamps were made up for each participant. Each person was given the booklet and a map and sent out to discover these places. We, and many other expats, were very excited for this event. I love the idea of finding out more information about Shenzhen and discovering more places to eat, shop, visit, and enjoy.
Micah and I had made plans to meet another expat from America at the subway stop closest to where the event was starting. Kara, our friend, and Micah navigated us to the Wanxia street. Thought the sidewalk got a little wonky (the technical term) and so we had to cross the street to the left side. We walked past some random stores and small family restaurants with the lives fish and aquatic animals happily swimming then we crossed back over Wanxia so could cross the bigger east-west road at the cross walk. While we were waiting for the green dancing cross walk man to appear a couple of expat bicyclists heard us debating where to go after crossing the road. The man asked if we were going to the international school for the event and directed us to the end of the second block. Really simple. The blinking man came on and off we went.
This road was right on the beach so we could smell the salt in the air mixing with fish and seaweed. It was the pleasant ocean smell that people like. At the end of the block we ran into the woman who was heading up the event, Rose. Rose waved at us with her usual wonderful smile and energy.
Inside the lobby we got to pick up our starting “passports” and a map. There were a couple of tables already there in case we didn’t want to go all the way over to their locations. Most of the places were a few blocks away but these businesses were farther out then that. We gathered a few goodies, pamphlets and flyers from these businesses.
Right before we were going to leave a Chinese man came over to each of our group members and asked to walk with us. Proffering he knew Chinese, had baidu maps (a Chinese digital map system) on his phone, and the map that we were all given, Dale stared at me with a bright smile waiting for my verdict. I couldn’t say no, so he joined us.
Then were off like a heard of directionally challenged turtles
Armed with Dale, Micah’s excellent directions and a map of the area we headed out into the bright sun. The stretch of bock that continued in the same direction held several of the points we needed to visit to receive a stamp. It was slow going at first.
We quickly went by a few shops and received more flyers, baked goods, and business cards. For instance at a German bakery called Backstube we were given delicious homemade soft pretzel. They were consumed before we could get pictures. At another place we were able to sample some traditional Chinese red tea called Hong Cha (红茶). It was delicious! They even let me pose with the tea set. As you can see its really a beautiful set. The reason I am smiling so big is because I was having a good time with everyone but a load of people showed up just as I sat down. Im a nervous smiler—I smile or scowl when I’m nervous.
At another shop down the line we ran into a woman who was alone who became a part of the pack.
This woman named Alana was on business for a few months from Scotland! It was so much hearing her accent and talking to her about Scotland. I hope I get to go visit her someday as she told me she’d show me around her neck of the woods if we ever made it.
Along the way we passed by a huge nursery that was going in soon. We had wonderful views of the beach and even passed an area that Alana explained was one of the very first areas built in Shenzhen about 20 years ago. This was a battery factory that had since then been renovated after moving to edge of the city. Presently the block was partly occupied by the Shenzhen branch (or maybe even the China branch if they only have one) of the Hasboro company. Look at all the signs and statues we encountered (The pictures are posted to the right and directly below.)
Ever since we left the starting point Dale has been trying to lead us. At first we were perfectly fine with that as we were having a very nice walk, however it became clear that he didn’t really understand how to read the map very well and kept wanting to take us out of the way—way out of the way. Micah started to insist on taking better routes. He even wanted us to take a “short cut” down an alley (don’t worry it wasn’t a dark alley and we didn’t take it). Micah pointed out that it was the opposite direction that we needed to go. This seemed to deflate Dale a little. He stayed quiet for a while until Micah walked right past one of the other places we needed to go. He lit up a little more because he had been of use, poor guy.
There were several places that were quite nice and a couple of restaurants we visited or walked past that we want to try again. The Indian Palace, a restaurant, was amazingly beautiful! I will have to try going there with a friend sometime for lunch since Micah doesn’t like Indian food.
The next place that we visited that was really interesting was The First Chiropractor of Shenzhen with Dr Steve. He was offering free posture checks to see how much strain was on your skeletal system from built up injuries or from other chronic things. Micah and I tried it along with one of our group. They took a picture of us forward and then to the side and measured our balance weight distribution (how much weight you put on each foot). Our friend had perfect balance and a posture grade of 12 on a scale of no problem being zero and a lot of strain at 30. My balance was by 3kg (more on my bad foot) and a posture scale of 22. Eeek! I didn’t know I was that bad! However, the real plot twist was Micah’s score. He had an imbalance of 5kg and a posture score of 31!!! The doctor looked at him and asked “You don’t have any symptoms, at all?” Micah said he didn’t really have anything other than mild irritation with his knees and sensitive muscles on his back. He does NOT like to have back massages because it throws him out of whack. The doctor just laughed.
Now for me, I was told by a doc a few years back that I’d have to re-break my foot at some point. My foot has been getting worse and worse over the year, so we decided to ask the doc if he would do this. He told me he would not but would like to look at my feet. Long story short my arches have collapsed completely. He said really about 10% of people that have arch problems have arches as bad as me. When he just looked at me slightly concerned asking about my pain levels, I wanted to blush and tell him “Well I’ve always been a high achiever.” Hehe! Anyway, he told me I would need to get orthopedics if I ever wanted to reduce the pain and try to repair a bit of the damage. So we told him we couldn’t afford them now but would definitely come back to him when we could next year.
New friends, gifts, new places, and fun
We crossed paths with Rose again on our way out of the chiropractor’s place. We all waved wildly and shouted across the small plaza. Eventually we made it to the Hilton where we waited for a shuttle to take us to a new medical clinic and day surgery hospital made especially for foreigners but caters to everyone. While waiting we made the acquaintance of a couple. The wife is from Russia and the husband is from Brazil. They were quite fun to talk to! We made sure to exchange contacts.
There are plenty of English speaking doctors who were trained in places like Australia, America, England and New Zealand. They gave us a tour of the wonderfully bright and beautiful clinic. The woman giving the tour spoke English quite well. However, Dale wanting to feel useful decided to translate her English to us. I have to say I was not very gracious in my annoyance. I never said anything but I should not have been annoyed at him. He must not feel important in his life very much. However, the Brazilian noticed this as well and kept laying the charm on Dale telling the tour guide and other clinic workers that he’s our boss and patted him on the shoulder a few times. The Brazilian earned a bit of respect. When I could not be gracious with this young man, this other man was. I am thankful that he was with us!
After the tour they led us to a waiting room where we could rest or wait our turn for an optional health assessment. I already know I’m fat so I decided to forgo that particular information. So what did I do was refill my water bottle and eat a couple of bagels and cream cheese. Once again I am a deprived person but I think that was the first time I was able to have that particular food. I now understand why people like to eat this! It was delicious! This visit to Vista completed our necessary stamps required so they gave us our prize bag. It was filled with a few fun gifts and a huge stack of wonderful information about Shenzhen and China.
One of the fun gifts was a bouncy ball. Our new friend, the Russian woman, was not at all sure what it was. She kept looking at it and rolling it around in her hand. We all kept telling her that she should throw it to the ground and she looked at us like we were crazy until someone took out their bouncy ball and showed her. She was quite fascinated with it. Its so funny to see the little things that are present in other countries or not.
Most everyone took the metro (subway) to other locations. However, the clinic is only a half mile to a mile away from our apartment so we decided to walk. We ate lunch half way home and had a good walk. In the neighborhood where the clinic is, Coastal City, there are so many new buildings being built. We came across some very interesting and beautiful buildings. There was one that had some sort of connection between it and the adjacent building. Though, the connection looked like it had an angle but we weren’t sure if it was an optical illusion or not. Can you tell (see the picture below). Let me know what ya’ll think!