donderdag 28 mei 2009

28 may - Dapeng Fortress and Xichong beach

Today we had a car with a driver to take us anywhere we wanted. I decided upforehand to travel to Dapeng Fortress (Dapeng Old Town), and I heard from someone living in Shenzhen that Xichong beach should be a very nice place to visit. So  we headed for those destinations on this thursday.

We left at 9.30 after I booked our transfer to the Hong Kong airport for tomorrow. We are picked up at 5 PM from our hotel, so we can do whatever we want during the day tomorrow. Today was a holiday in China, and everyone is off from work so it was quite busy on the streets. Travel to Dapeng took about one hour. The old town dates from 1394, it was build as a fortress to defend China against enemies. There are still people living in this small town, and some houses are created as kind of museum. I liked it a lot. Walking around took about 1 hour, and then we drove to Xichong beach, another half hour. We took Shen's Nintendo for the car ride, so he had something to do. The weather was really nice, dry and a very nice temperature (not too hot, I guess around 27/28 degrees). The beach is very long, about 5 km's, and there were lot'sof people (because of the holiday), normally it is very peaceful, but not on this day. Shen started running around and playing in the sand. After a while we wanted to have lunch, and Xichong is famous for it's seafood, so that was an easy choice. We had shrimp and a fish, with some  rice. It was very nice, especially the shrimps with the herbs, great!

After lunch Shen went into the South Chinese sea. I stayed with him because there was some wind and the sea was not so safe for children (I wasn't in the water, but  on the beach). So I had to call him every now and then to come back to me. He had great fun playing in the water. It was warm and he loved it. At about half past four we left for Shenzhen again, the ride was 1 hour 15 minutes with not much traffic. When we came near Shenzhen it started raining. We have had so much luck today that it was dry and nice weather!

Tomorrow we're going to the Window of the World, rain or sunshine after I packed our suitcase. Then we will head for the Hong Kong airport and fly home. It's possible I will send a short update by email from my cellphone. The next real post will be from the Netherlands!

beach (xichong)

woensdag 27 mei 2009

27 may - Shenzhen Safaripark (Zoo)

 This morning I saw the sun when I looked out of my window on the 15th floor! We had planned to go to the Shenzhen Safaripark (Zoo) so a little sunshine was very welcome!

I decided to travel to the last point of the metro line (Window of the world) and then take a taxi, as that would be much cheaper. So we did. We bought some croissants at a bakery at the Gloriaplaza shoppingcenter (where the metro station is) and hopped on the metro. The metro in Shenzhen is very easy and overall very nice. I saw no signs of pickpockets anywhere, most people where busy with their cellphones or looked a bit strange to Shen and me. It takes about 20-25 minutes to the last station, which costs 5RMB (only for me, Shen is considered free as he is 110 cm. exactly). That is about EUR 0,60, which is very cheap. We spotted a taxi immediately after we came above the ground (in the sunshine again!) and it took another 15 minutes to the Zoo. There were almost no visitors in the Zoo. The first part we walked almost allone. The animals have a lot of space with tropical trees and flowers around them. Very nice, some green and nature in combination with sunshine! We walked from animal to animal and talked a lot. It was very hot and sweaty weather, so we drank a lot of water. At a certain point Shen wanted some ice-cream and he picked one from the list. Unfortunately that one tasted very bad. Shen fed some monkeys with pieces of apple, he fed the big goldfish, and we saw a show with lions and tigers (also white tigers) and a bird show. We didn't pay for a show with a bear, we both thought that the bear on a leash is not leading a nice life so we didn't want to pay for that. Then we saw a show with dolphins and other water animals (and divers and a lady in a hoop performing art). As we walked to the tiger and lion part of the park, suddenly rain started falling down, and we waited a while. At first we thought it wouldn't get dry again, but after about 15 minutes the rain stopped, and we walked the footpath above the lion and tiger fields. Very nicely done, all animals have space for themselves. It took more than an hour by taxi back to the hotel, it was very busy in Shenzhen, but that only costed RMB76,50 (about EUR 8,50). Then we went for dinner, accross the street is an Indian (halal, muslim) restaurant, and it was very good. I had chicken Tikka Massala with naan bread, and Shen fried rice with shrimp. Tomorrow on our last night we're going to eat at the Greenery's again, I promised that to Shen. He loves the Hot Pot corn there.

Tomorrow our guide will have a car arranged for us, and we are going to travel outside the city. The plan is to head for Dapeng fortress, and Xichong beach.


dinsdag 26 mei 2009

26 may - Splendid China and 2nd orphanage visit

This morning we went to Splendid China (and Folk Cultural Village, it's all in one park and one admission) by metro right after breakfast. It was the first time we used the metro by ourselves, and it was easy-peasy! Select the station you want to go, and insert coins or a 5 yuan bill. The machine even returns money, so no need to have the exact amount of cash. It was only about 20-25 minutes to the park, which was only 50 metres from the metro entrance. Shen didn't have to pay for the park, because he is 110 cm exactly. They all think he is a baby here, Shen doesn't like that!

The park is beautiful. We had some rain, and some dry periods, and even, in the end, some sun. We bought several souvenirs (everything in this park is about traditions so they sell a lot of the more "traditional" souvenirs), had our photos taken in original costumes (they are hard-copy, I have to scan them at home) and had great fun in this park.

We went back to the hotel at 1.30, bought some croissants in the shopping centre where the metro has his entrance, and where right in time to freshen up a bit and go to the orphanage with our guide. We took a taxi, and arrived just before 3 'o clock. The orphanage visit was great again. They showed us the dossier of Shen, they had two photos of him as a very tiny baby (just 2 months old) as he came into the orphanage. I didn't expect those, so I was really touched at that moment. They promised to send the files to me per e-mail. I hope they do that, don't know what to expect I must say. I have photographed the two photos of baby Shen, so I have them already.

We then went to see the children, one boy we saw when we adopted Shen. It was one of his friends in the orphanage. I also saw a group of children, of which two will be adopted within a couple of months. I could take some photos of the children, so their mothers are very happy at this moment.

After the orphanage visit we went to the hospital Shen was brought just after he was born. I took some photos there too, and then we returned to the hotel. We had dinner at the same restaurant as yesterday (per Shen's request) and then he went into bath, and into bed.

Tomorrow we are planning a visit to the Shenzhen zoo. There are many tigers over there, and even a few panda's (one giant panda). Shen is looking forward to that!