Shenzhen, China, April 2019: Shenzhen is a relatively new city having evolved from being a small town into one of China’s largest metropolis’s. Its modern day evolution began around 1980 when China relaxed its rules on communism to pursue a more capitalist agenda. Western powers realised the potential for cheap labour and new markets and with the transference of manufacturing Eastward, here we have Shenzhen and quite a few others like it across China. I’m here at the Shenzhen Immigration hall about to start 30 days of touring China’s scenic Southwest regions – that’s if the authorities let me in of course – the way they look right now it could be touch and go!
Before passports are looked at, one has to navigate the self-check in console. Thankfully there are some English instructions to follow directing users to scan their passport, have fingerprints logged and a mug shot taken. After all of that, one must fill out an arrival card! Join the immigration queue with a receipt from the console and just wait, and wait.
Finally, having made it onto Chinese soil my priority now is to purchase a phone sim card to keep open lines of communication to the outside world. China Unicom is conveniently placed just the other-side of immigration. Its another complicated process of form filling, then I have to hold the sim card while the sales girl takes a photo before they install the micro-card. Despite the language barrier, I’ve ended up with a sim card, installed and working, well that’s what I’m told, I think, for the princely sum of about £20.
The Spacecraft Capsule Hotel is base for the next 3 nights and A 30 minute hike North towards Ganxia should get me there by around 6, giving me time to make some observations and form a first impression.