Knock off city, capital of the cheap clones, a short hop on a bus from HK. Shenzen was our first port of call in mainland china. No english spoken here. This is where the great wall of china begins, the great wall being the language barrier. You can’t really blame the chinese, there are so many of them that they don’t really need us or english. The sheer scale of everything here is a little overwhelming. Hong Kong is big but familiar, mainland china is big and very strange. You go around with your eyes on stalks gawking at everything while they gawk at you and your kids, more of this later. We check into our hotel and immediately head out to have a look at our new home. We are staying in the centre and are struck by number of people on the streets. It is 10 o’clock and we have just eaten and the streets are still thronged with shoppers. KFC’s and McDonalds, homegrown fast food joints like ‘Kung Fu’ everywhere, and all the counterfit and slightly off centre copy stores. Camel, that well known brand of cigarettes and clothing, well camel in china is a dromedary, the logo has two humps, crocodile logo’s on shirts that are something other than lacoste.
Next day it”s off to the Lo Yu commercial centre, six stories of electrical goods, cheap tailors, opticians, restaurants and I don’t no what, its an old fashioned market but vertical. We need to buy two electric pacifiers, the one we were travelling with Elka dropped and we havn’t had a minutes peace since, so these are an important purchase. We arrive at the Lo Yu centre and Lisa is immediatley off, clothes shops, fabric shops, shop shops, it doesn’t matter, she is in the zone. We decide to split up, me and Pancake (Axel) will do the electrics, the girls, what girls do. There are small electrical places all over but we decide to do our shopping on a small mall lined with them. The DVD players we are looking for will need to be cheap and they are. We go from stall to stall stating our case taking down the details, price and model with the promise we will be back if the price we have been given is the most competitive. Everyone on the street now know’s what it is we are looking for and our modus operandi. Whichever one of them gives us the cheapest price will get the business. I am never sure if I am kidding myself here, they are all probably the one and the same business. Anyway they seem to have two sorts of product, the really cheap ones starting at 40 euro and the ones that have a Sony sticker which are of course more expensive. The price starts out at about 120 euro for 2, we settle on 2 for 60 euro. We try them out, they work, job done.
When we get back to the hotel Elka stick’s on ‘Barbie does some mermaid crap’, Axel ‘Star Wars, the Clone Wars’ with the ear goggles on. The silence in the room is deafening, I look at Lisa, Lisa looks at me, electric pacifiers are go.
Next stop Shanghai.