It’s been a handful of years since I last visited Shenzhen and my previous impression of it was not so fond. This time, however, had me thoroughly impressed. It’s a megapolis like the other tier-1 Chinese cities, but unlike the other major Chinese cities, Shenzhen really has only come to significance in the last 30 years following Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms. What a legacy he’s left.
Xi'an’s drum tower is believed to have been built in the 14th century during the Ming Dynasty. I can’t help but feel awe when confronted by such incredible details, especially when put in context of the era in which it was built.
As an outsider looking in, and brought up mostly under Western influence, I think I’ve developed some silly, romantic idea of the Chinese village. During my short break in Xi'an, I was lucky enough to pass through one during which looked like to be their corn harvest season. People-watching here was fascinating for me.
I think the rural village is where the paradoxes of a modernising China are playing out the most, caught up between the traditions of a life on the land with vast changes in technology and lifestyles all around. It will be fascinating to watch how places like these respond. I, for one, will be a little disappointed should this life disappear. But as an outsider, my opinion and preferences also don’t matter.
One of the off-tourist-brochure highlights of Beijing is ’簋街’, otherwise more commonly recognised as '鬼街’ or 'Ghost Street’. Running for almost a mile, red lanterns on both sides line the sidewalks of this stretch of road, with hungry punters lining up outside of its restaurants to get their fill. To ease the pain of the wait, a number of restaurants supply patrons with sunflower seeds or other such snacks to nibble on, with their shells disposed on the sidewalks. The most popular dishes on 簋街 are its 麻辣 dishes, oftentimes cooked with yabbies (or lobster-like shrimps), fish and stalls of 串 (chuanr).