Since I was behind “the great firewall” of China (where blogs are blocked) over the last few days I was unable to immediately post about my short trip to Mainland China. I finally have a free moment now as I am waiting in the Hong Kong airport for a flight to Singapore. Enjoy!
On Wednesday my global food studies course left Hong Kong for a three day trip to Guangzhou. Since dim sum originated in Guangzhou, and some say was perfected in Hong Kong, it seemed to be a very important addition to our food based class. As a planner however I was as equally excited to travel to another Chinese city as I was to try more dim sum. I was also very excited to drive through southern Mainland China to compare it to experiences in Shanghai.
Since it was so rainy on Wednesday (and I was on a moving bus) most of my photos failed to capture the scenes I observed between Hong Kong and Guangzhou but I will do my best to describe it here. The first Chinese city when you cross the boarder is the SEZ (Special Economic Zone) of Shenzen. Thirty yeas around this space across the boarder was only farmland. But in 1980 the government of China decided to establish an experimental economic zone that had freer economic regulations than the rest of China. Since then a city of over 8 million people has emerged.
One of the most shocking things to me was that not one square meter of land between the boarder and Guangzhou seemed to be unused. Although we were driving through areas that were not technically cities beyond Shenzen, it certainly felt like a sprawling urban area over our three hour drive. Every part of the land was either used for farming, factories, or dormitories for factory workers. Even the hillsides were used to grow mangoes, bananas or terraced for rice paddies. Rural villages existed side by side with factories and dormitories.