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A Week With Murray, Shenzen China

Posted by TravellingStrom on October 1, 2012

Mayan Prophecy Countdown

Murray had specifically told me to sleep in, he had to work of course as he runs his own manufacturing business. If you want to buy some cheap paint cans(without the paint) or any other metallic product check his website for his offerings. As you would expect of any product made in China, it is cheap to make but as he personally attends every manufacturing run, the quality is right up there. Sourcing East Asia is his website. So, he told me to relax on this first day, do some blog updates whatever, he has unlimited bandwidth and data on his internet, so go for it 🙂 He also told me about a few places around here I might like to make use of, including a western breakfast at a bakery, a local supermarket and sundry other places, all within walking distance of this set of apartments. So, of course I ventured forth when I was hungry and although the food was good at the bakery, the tea and coffee are nothing like anything I have tasted on this earth, ewwk! I resolved to bring my own teabags next time 🙂 I actually have heard the expression, “for all the tea in China” and I know they exported it to the west, but I am still unsure to this day what was served to me. Never mind, I drank water in the end 😉

I had a relaxing day, in fact I had a few nanny naps as well, after that long night last night, I wonder how Murray is faring? Here are a few of the views from the balcony, on which I spent a lot of time over the next week. It was an extremely smoggy place, and with the high humidity it made for lousy views of the surrounding mountains which I knew were there, because I could occasionally see through a clear spot.

Now, over here in China it takes a big effort to get your licence to drive, there are a shit load of questions, over 1500 from memory and it has taken Murray 2 years before he managed to work some time in to get his. It also costs big bikkies, and looking straight down over the balcony I noticed a drivers training school. I watched these for quite a while as it was entertaining, maybe I should have gone downstairs and clapped when needed 😉 The thing is, that is probably some very expensive real estate!!!

I had a relaxing day and later in the afternoon I called Murray to find out about some bars. Lucky I called as it turns out he will not be back tonight, he was about 2 hours away at a different factory so he advised me to try a certain place which I did, but there was not much in the way of bar activity in this area, most had closed due to a large bar/pub precinct opening about 5 kms away. I ended up with some nice beer, some nice food and some nice views, nuff said 😉


The next day was a similar story, but after lunch I was picked up by one of the office girls to take me to the next town where Murray was working. This was a scary ride as the hired driver spent a lot of time asleep, admittedly it was only at the time the car was not moving and stuck in traffic snarls, but scary for me nonetheless and the front seat passenger was asleep as well, I was the only one wired up enough to stay awake!!!

When we finally got to the factory that makes these bits, it turns out there were issues with the tooling procedure, so time was spent sorting that out, before we then headed for the 2 hour journey back to Shenzen. Apparently this is a common thing to happen, and Murray has places to stay in most of the towns he has to work.

But guess what, back at the unit, I noticed a bottle of Bundy on the shelf, well, a half bottle as it was already opened, and Murray said go ahead, its yours, yippeeio!!!! My Chinggis can wait until later 😉 We had dinner at what he calls his Japanese McDonalds, it is a sushi place where you pay about $28 and drink all the beer you want and eat whatever you like, this is a great idea and they cook it in front of you and serve it fresh, nothing uncooked for this little black duck, had enough gut problems to last me through three countries and 2 months, but I am all good now 🙂

After the beer and then the rum, I can say I was a tad under the weather later that night. I am not sure how Murray does it, he still goes to work as he has no choice, but he must be used to it by now 🙂 I was invited to attend a container loading event in the morning, I passed, before I passed out


The next day was a similar one to the day before, brekky down the bakery, I do this because they do a western breakfast, I cannot handle noddles or rice that early in the day, mind you I might have to get used to it later. Now, here is a crap photo of the inside of one of the building elevators.

The reason I am showing it is because of the numbering system used here in China. In the west there is no Floor 13, it jumps from 12 to 14, well here they have a 13 and a 13A and a 23A, there is no number 2,3,4, 14, or 24. The number FOUR in Chinese sounds very like the word for death, so this number is ignored totally and it is bad to use the word. Superstition yes, but like our 13, ingrained into the culture. I don’t know why the number 2 or 3 is missing from the listing.

When I started to get peckish, I headed around the streets looking for something to eat. In the end I chose an old fav KFC, I have tried it on a few different countries and I was disappointed in most of them as they did not taste right. Somehow, what I ordered here looked and tasted nothing like Kentucky duck, it seemed to be a different food totally?

I did go back a few days later and found that I had ordered the wrong food, what I ate today was chook wings done New Orleans style or something to that effect, but I did get to eat normal original chook and it tasted OK.

Over the next few days I tried a number of different foods, but stuck with my western breakfast, and took my own tea bag along. I had some time up my sleeve, heaps of it really as I was not sure when I should head to Bangkok. I did not want to be a burden here on Murray and he was busy anyway, but this weekend the Chinese national holidays start, so there would be 1 billion Chinese not working and heading onto the roads, rails and the air!!! I was looking for entertainment and decided to go find a Geocache, it has been a while since I had found one, Russia I think from memory. There were a few around, one seemed like a nice possibility, it was in a rooftop garden somewhere about 3km away, so I headed off to find it 🙂 I did not have a GPS, but I have an APP on my iPhone, so with the 3G coverage I could use that to find it. It was a fair old hike and my legs were not used to it. Silly me wore thongs which caused a few cuts as well, but the left leg was still a bit sore. I was amazed during my walk at how many seafood restaurants there are here, all with live fish and other seafood, there were hundreds and most looked good enough to eat 🙂

After an hour in the hot sun and making good use of my APP, I worked my way over a main road and to the Central Walk Shopping Centre. Here I ran into a small snag, they were doing major renovations which meant many of the entrances to the rooftop gardens were closed and locked. I did finally get up there and did find the cache, I never saw another soul but the gardens were very well cared for so there must be someone around.

So, my first and as it turns out last Chinese cache looked for and found 🙂 There were a few more around, the closest 4km, I decided to forgo any more walking as my leg was hurting a bit and my ankle as well, big wuss that I am I decided to try a bus back. Hmm, maybe not, I had no idea how to work out the schedules and routes, so as it turns out I walked back and was absolutely shagged!! On the way out of the gardens I had to take the extended tour, I was lost!! They had these big notices up which said you are here and they showed the exits, but they were all bloody locked and barred! I wandered around there for about half an hour until I finally spotted someone else and lucky for me they spoke a bit of English and guided me out, LOL. I could have climbed a tree to see where I was, but they looked very painful!

During my wander back I saw this neat innovation, it was a library machine, swipe your card and select the book and it dispenses it like a vending machine.

And as I took a different route back to the flat I found some different things to take photos of.

Another place to eat, fast food Chinese style, Kung Fu


Now, Murray had decided to give me a lend of a GPS, he had bought one in Thailand a while back and he had no need of it for now, so that sounded good. The thing was it only had a Thailand map on it but we decided that we could go for a look down town and see what Chinese ones were available. I had seen the ones he uses in his cars and they are real nice to use, very friendly, but we would do that a bit later. As I was living here for free, and had the spare time, a task for me was to clean up the laptop used by Wendy, one of his office staff. It was taking ages to fire up, around 20 minutes and I was thinking virus, or more than one, as I had been infected also in the past month quite badly. So, as I had the exact same model it should be easy to work something out. After trying a number of things including finding a number of bad virii, and installing some diagnostic programs I found out the HDD was totally rooted, it was ready to die at any time. So, rather than muck with it too much, he backed up the stuff he wanted to keep and we went the next day to an area in Shenzen which is just electronics, components, finished products, you name it they have it and cheap 🙂 It was Monday, the first day of the holidays and there were police and security everywhere, maybe they were expecting demonstrations? There had been some anti Japanese stuff happening lately, something to do with an island under dispute, but nothing happened here except they all sat around and relaxed, minimal photos taken of course but the car park was full of buses and cars used to bring them in.

A lot of the shops were closed but we did find what we needed in a new HDD and after that I ended up with a brand new GPS, a Chinese version that uses the iGo system for under 60 bucks with maps for China, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore and supposedly I could download Laos and Cambodia off the net, thanks Murray that was appreciated 🙂

The rest of the day was normal computer crap, create rescue disks off the old system, burn them to DVD, install the new HDD, re-install the OS, which in this case is Windows7, then set it up ready for work, and then create a ghost image to use in case of failure. This went on into the night, but it was task I have done many times in the past.

So, after another dinner at the Japanese MacDonalds and a few beers during the evening, I slowly got my gear together, ready for a departure. During the past few days I had been monitoring emails about the bike shipping process and as it now seemed to be settled as to how things needed to be done, I had booked a flight for the Thursday from Hong Kong to Thailand. I had also arranged for my bike to arrive and be available for customs release for the day after, which is Friday. I did not want to arrive and find I had to wait the weekend before picking it up, so hopefully it will all work out and as it turned out, yes it did. 😉

Tomorrow I was going to cross into Hong Kong, I had a few different plans, but the one I ended up adopting was to take the metro train direct to Kowloon where I had booked an expensive shoebox right on Nathan Road, but as I had been living free the past week, it was not a big issue. The main criteria being they had a room, not many places were vacant due to the holidays, so I had to take what I could get and it was slap bang right in the central part of Kowloon 🙂

Cheers from Shenzen, China

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