Friday, December 08, 2006

Shenzhen

February 2003

The next morning we had to be up fairly early again, since an arrangement had been made to go to Shenzhen with Maggie’s sister and Errol. We had to meet them at the train station at 11am.

Going to Shenzhen presented me with a problem. I only had one entry left on my China visa, and I needed this for the tour Maggie had planned, which departed on Friday. However, Maggie was confident that I could get a one day visa on arrival, so we took the chance.

A couple of hours later, I found myself queuing to purchase a visa, with Errol along for morale support. The whole process passed without incident, but meant that I had to find an hour worth of conversation to fill the time I spent alone with Errol. Other than our relationships with the two sisters, we had little in common. Since I didn’t want to be questioned about Maggie and me, I tried to direct the conversation toward Errol’s work. Fortunately he seemed happy to oblige.

There was quite a stampede of people when periodically the barriers were lifted allowing the next batch join the queue for immigration. Then it was another hours wait until finally we were allowed into Shenzhen. It was now almost 3pm.

We took lunch in a nearby hotel, and then headed for the nearby shopping mall, which was it seemed the main reason for the days excursion. The mall was full of counterfeit goods, watches, clothing, sun glasses, sport wear, bags, pens and so on. All well known brand labels; Diesel, Guchi, Louis Vuitton, D&G, Monte blanc, Rolex the list was endless.

Errol bought a few Rolex watches, which after considerable haggling cost him around £2 each, and Maggie’s sister had an almost insatiably desire for bags. For me the novelty soon wore off, and I was grateful when Errol suggested we stop for coffee.

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