Today I explored parts of Shekou with my friend Jen and it was fascinating. The great thing about Jen is her appetite for adventure and exploring. She sees a little street and she’s the first one to ask, “Do you wanna check that out?’ In other words, Jen is fun.
Our day started out with a bit of shopping and haggling. One vendor told me a vase I was interested in was very old (meaning expensive)… he then proceeded to sell it to me for 50 RMB when I started to walk away. This ain’t my first time to the rodeo buddy.
Jen has been in China about eight years with her family, so her Chinese is really good. I get a kick out of watching the Chinese people when they hear her speak their language because she is this petite, blonde, Canadian and they always look surprisingly pleased.
Even though it was very hot today and I did not have on the appropriate footwear, when she asked if I wanted to explore some side streets up passed the Wet Market, I was all over it. This is what I have been wanting to do but too chicken to go about it solo.
The thing is, there aren’t a lot of Westerners in this part of the ‘Kou, so we got a lot of long stares. Keep in mind, I don’t feel threatened but it’s sometimes unnerving to be looked at so unabashedly. Also people, especially children, will sometimes shout out ‘Hello’ or ‘How are you’ (I am assuming the only English they know) and they think it’s wonderful when you answer back. I got the biggest kick out of that today. But for me, the greatest thing was that I felt invigorated. I felt like I was traveling in ‘real’ China. I saw some places to live that I really even can’t call houses; they were that small and dark. People were out on the sidewalks holding hands, riding scooters, buying and selling things, playing games, and just hanging around trying to keep cool. We saw a couple of small temples or shrines with beer offerings; where figurines were wrapped in the smoke of incense of prayers waiting to be answered. It was great.
I ended up taking photos and several small videos on my iPhone. I don’t think that people realized I was filming them, which made it less intrusive. I really have to work on steadying my grip though. Photography is great but video seems worth exploring. Although the quality isn’t great (I didn’t do full resolution to keep the file small), enjoy the clip below created in iMovie.