My first day in Shenzhen


by Greg Jackson- HCE Explorer

I landed in Beijing around 2:20. That was early. My flight to Shenzhen was supposed to leave at 5:00. I exited the plane, went through customs, grabbed my bags, and went to the domestic transfer line, but the worker said that my flight was delayed. “Your flight is…uhh…delayed. Go to second floor, check-in China Southern desk”

Alright…so I went through the exit doors, upstairs to the main terminal, and headed to the closest sign that read “China Southern.” The lady was really nice there, but she wasn’t the check-in desk. She directed me around the corner, and wrote down the flight I am supposed to tell them. I went to the check-in line, as confused as I’ve ever been, and a little anxious. No one could answer my question. No one could communicate what was going on. For the first time in my life I felt completely, and utterly out of place. The woman in the check-in counter gave me a ticket, took my two bags, and pointed me towards security. I had to do security…again, even though my bags were scanned downstairs; I had even received a fancy stamp on my passport from customs. I went through security, and looked at the flight info. After gazing at it for 5 minutes, I realized that my flight was boarding. It was 3:20! I flipped out and ran to my gate, and as I walked in they shut the door behind me.

I landed around 7:40ish, spent the night at the program coordinator’s apartment, and commenced my orientation the next afternoon. We ate at an incredible restaurant for lunch. My first authentic Chinese meal was Szechuan chicken, fried rice, fish soup, and roasted eggplant. The flavors are far different than what we’re used to back in the States. I liked every bite of it.

For the first time in my life I felt completely, and utterly out of place.

Shenzhen is surprisingly humid, and during the summer, it is very rainy. The program coordinator stated that Shenzhen is subtropical. Indeed, it has many palm trees and tropical fruits are abundant in the markets.

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The family is upper middle class. The dad is a stock trader and is in the private equity business. The mom is a stay-at-home mom. I haven’t learned much about them, but they seem like very simple, laid back people.

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