I have been here in Shenzhen, China, visiting Huawei headquarters for the past week. It is beastly hot and muggy but until yesterday the air was clean. Yesterday and today, it has been like living in an increasingly thick cotton ball. Working in mainland China is very interesting. Some of my observations:
- There is a wide variety of dress but more formal dresses worn to work than I am used to in the USA. By “formal” I mean sequins and black chiffon knee-length gowns with high heels – not “business formal”. Clothes are western-style, modest, and fashionable. Ladies’ cloth parasols are popular – these can be plain plaid but others feature lace and sequins. I have seen none of the hand-painted paper parasols like those they sell in San Francisco’s Chinatown.
- Very few people here are overweight. Most are young – less than ten years out of college – with one much-loved child in each family (called a little Emperor or Princess). I have seen almost no old people. Almost everyone is relatively short, with a few notable exceptions.
- We went to visit Hong Kong by train last Sunday. Hong Kong is cosmopolitan and very stylish, with malls full of designer shops – different from Shenzhen, which is a high-tech working town. We went up to The Peak to watch the lights come on in the skyscrapers on Hong Kong Island – an amazing and impressive sight.
- Restaurants offer packets of tissues instead of napkins. Many offer shrink-wrapped sets of plate-with-2-bowls-and-spoon at each seat. The food is excellent, fresh, and interesting. Watch out for the red peppers! The best restaurant so far was been Laurel, right near our hotel – really good.
- Traffic is relatively light and slow (compared to the Silicon Valley or Cairo anyway), which is good because drivers go all over the place regardless of lanes. Cars do not stop for pedestrians.
- The internet is fast and free in my room at the Paradise Hasee Hotel but no Facebook or Youtube is available. There seems to be just one hair dryer and one clothes iron in the hotel; they swap them between rooms. Also, each room is limited to just 4 wooden hangers – if you ask for more, you get plastic coated wire hangers. The electric kettle for tea in the room is very convenient. The beds are large and comfortable and the lighting is good. The shower heads spray across the room if you are not careful to point them toward the wall before turning on the water. Breakfast is free and plentiful but only Chinese food is available – I usually have fried rice with egg and vegetables.
- People are very friendly and helpful but most only speak Mandarin.
- Having “KTdict+ C-E” Chinese-English dictionary on my iPhone has been very helpful – I can show people the characters for the words I can’t pronounce. I also bought the “English-Chinese Pro” application but it is usually too noisy for someone to hear it speaking. I keep my Data Roaming OFF to keep costs down, so many of my iPhone applications are crippled. Skype has worked well for communicating with my family in California and Pennsylvania.
I am taking many pictures but I will have to wait until I get home to upload them.