Friday, July 18, 2003

R&R: Seven of us had most of the day off on Friday and explored more of Shenzhen. It's a city of about 6 million, a new economic zone, that grew from a fishing village of about 20,000 15 or so years ago. Most of the architecture - such as it is - is high rises, sort of neo-Soviet bloc/Cabrini housing project. There are a few distinctive looking office buildings and sky scrapers but most of it is pre-fab concrete with a postage stamp size balcony for every unit. Lots of laundry continually hanging from the balconies.
Our trip to a more urban area of downtown revealed a perponderance of electronic and high tech stores and - thank you jeebus !- a Pizza Hut. Chinese cafeteria food is wearing a bit thin. This was the swankiest Pizza Hut any of us had ever experienced. It is obviously a sort of Le Cirque in Shenzhen - plush interior, Nat King Cole and Tony Bennett on the sound system and prices to match. One salad from the salad bar (no refills) was the equivalent of $4, but the Ranch Dressing was authentic.
The pizzas were both familiar and tweaked for local tastes. All the crust varieties were there with but the toppings on some, squid, tuna fish, monk fish, etc. weren't so familiar. I went with a meat lovers while Julian inhaled a spicy chicken.
Side note: I had my students "interview" me and write a bio the other day. In the course of the interviews, I told them I had been divorced twice. Several subsequently wrote: "My teacher has two wives."

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