Dear 深圳 // Shenzhen, style cannot be purchased

Asia

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silly architecture

Dear Shenzhen, I have no idea what you are doing. Actually, I have some idea. You’re showing off the money you have earned through hard labor and a case of government experimenting with capitalism. It worked (capitalism), your new architecture maybe not quite so much. What is this thing? I get that red and yellow are in the Chinese flag and then there is a round and a square thing for heavens and earth but who told you that this is a good way of combining all these things? Not even mentioning this big things on top. There is no good way to describe it. There is more to style than money. No offense. But honestly…I know better ways if you want to lose some cash.

And can we please talk about your Museum? Is it supposed to be open or not? Right now, it looks like a giant concrete and glass dump covered in dust sprinkles. Oh and while I like the look of your library, with the glass walls and ceilings and all, I am not sure if it is the most practical. It is January and I feel like being slapped in the face by Mr. sauna inside.

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Shenzhen Library

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grid and glass ceiling – sauna

Slightly exaggerating, of course. There are a lot of great things about Shenzhen. The variety of cuisines available, for example, due to workers from all over China bringing their favorite food with them. Treats from Xian, for example, one of my all time favorites. Chewy noodles, thick and belt-shaped, usually tossed together with ingredients to represent the colors red – carrots, yellow – egg, black – wood ear mushrooms, green – garlic leaves and white – tofu or potatoes. Mixed with a healthy dose of chili and preserved vegetables, restaurants may vary their toppings but the hot and sour flavor remains. Cheap and filling comfort food! Paired with an appetizer of a Chinese pulled pork sandwich, drippy juicy mess included.

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Chinese version of a pulled pork sandwich

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Biang Biang Noodles – cheap and filling

Dafen Village, Shenzhen. An artists’ village. Big copycat. World’s producer of oil paintings. Assembly line style. Dozens of paintings of the same picture. Different stages of painting. Each stroke done repeatedly all day long till infinity. Deserted alleys during Chinese New Year. All people off to family and homes. Except for us. Which is strange to the people here. A kind shop owner asks us why we are still dwelling in Shenzhen instead of going home. The rare open shop here and there. A rooster hiding between paintings. Smart guy. Chickens on the run. Hungry Chinese people are coming. Year of the rooster is just around the corner. Dumplings for us, dumplings for everyone. Candy colored little homes and massive highrises.

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Dafen village – red banner

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Dafen village

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half painted paintings

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relief of a painting

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copies of the same paintings

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rooster

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step by step copies

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café

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candy colored houses

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highrise

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sleepy cat at our hostels

Just outside Dafen, a Walmart. With all that is left of the city’s population in search for food. Walmart kindly carts willing shoppers to the store with free shuttle buses. How nice. Not having enough food is every Chinese person’s worst nightmare. No joke. Better get one more chicken and this bag of rice.

Outside of Walmart, a few stalls sell other items, lanterns, banners and rice cake. Another New Year’s staple. Chewy and yum!

Replacing our beaten shoes with two brand new sneakers on super promotion good deal mark down sale. People get new clothes for the new year, that’s tradition.

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before New Year – Walmart service complete with shuttle buses

So what remains from our travels to Shenzhen? Two pairs of new shoes…

 

January 25th – January 27th 2017

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