Shenzhen 2011, Day 5/6: Enormity, defined

Another day with a missed blog post, clearly I’m not here on vacation.

I know my previous posts have been dominated by gushing about how incredible everything is here, from the people, to the venues, to the opening ceremonies, so I apologize if, comparatively, this one seems a little negative.

Getting around here is, let’s call it an adventure.

For Universiade events, media members have to take a bus from the hotel to a transport centre and then board a different bus to get the venues. These trips to the venues are usually at least 45 minutes.

Now that I’m over the inconvenience of travelling here, it got me thinking, this city is unbelievably big. Those 45-minute bus rides, the entire time you are still in the Shenzhen city limits. And that distance extends in every direction.

My hotel is essentially in the middle of the city and in going to different events, my travel has taken as long as an hour and a half, within the same city. Drive for an hour and a half from Toronto and you can end up in the U.S.

This city has 10 million people and to be honest, I had never heard of it until I found out I was coming here. How a city like this is not globally known is beyond me.

To change things up, here are a few random things I’ve learned in Shenzhen.

Everyone has business cards. No matter who they are, if you meet someone they will hand you a business card. They also hand it to you with both hands and you must accept it with both hands.

Apparently chicken wings, corn on the cob, Singapore noodles and chicken skewers are breakfast foods. They’ve all been featured at the breakfast buffet.

Have I already mentioned that Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are blocked? Culture shock.

I always thought the two languages in China were Mandarin and Cantonese, but every Chinese person I’ve talked to that speaks English doesn’t know what Mandarin means. They say Chinese and Cantonese.