We had a “day off” today which means that we didn’t teach but took the children to the same water park aswe did just over 2 weeks ago. It was good fun and everyone got a little sunburnt and very wet. The day was not particularly relaxing, however we spent some time having fun with the children. We’re just generally tired at the moment, however this camp finishes on the 14th and then on the 15th we’re meant to be jetting off as a team to Hainan island for debriefing. This is some tropical island on the south of China which is a popular resort for tourists from all over the world. We’ll be going there with the American team for 4 days and then back to Shenzhen to go off to Shanghai and start our tour of China. We’ve met several people from Beijing at this camp and they’re very keen to meet up with us when we go there. We watched the Bourne Supremacy tonight, which was as brilliant as I remember it to be.
The hour-long bus journey to the water world, which is in the same district of Shenzhen as the school is, reminded me about the pace at which China is developing. I recall the same bus ride about 17 days ago and several areas had been totally changed in the process. This district of shenzhen was non-existant as little as 8 years ago, and yet it is probably 10 times the size of Cambridge. Everywhere you go, you see builders, although like most builders you never actually see them do any work; they just sit there but somehow the work progresses at a tremendous rate. The school which we are now teaching at houses 7000 pupils and has all the facilities they would require including a full indoor basketball stadium seating maybe 1000. The first student arrived in 2002 and yet this is classed as a relatively old school by Shenzhen standards. The 20 year old school we were at before was considered ancient. A similar rate of development is occuring all over China, fueled, I susspect by the cheap labour which is caused by the vast labour market avaliable here. It really is impossible to describe – perhaps China should be labeled “Under Construction”.
Because China is one vast building site, it has quite a bad reputation amongst those people living close to it, specifically those from Hong Kong. Ask anyone from Hong Kong what they think of China, and in a word most will say “dirty”. This is true to some extent, beauty is seldom given much consideration compared to speed of construction, at least in the suburbs of Shenzhen, and also there are many muddy building sites which tend to spill dirt onto the roads leaving quite a few muddy puddles around. It doesn’t really give China the nicest look, however it is not as bad as most people from Hong Kong, would make it out to be.
Should have another Meeting tomorrow although Books are quite hard to come by – hopefully have another two dozen arriving in a few days, as those we got before were already taken by people on this camp. There is great hunger here and not just because the canteen is not very good.