Monday, December 10, 2007

Watching Shenzhen Grow is like standing on the edge of the Ocean; It Makes you Feel tiny.

I may have mentioned before the that Shenzhen is a city that was virtually built overnight. It was a sleepy fishing village of 300,000 people fifteen years ago and today it has been reinvented as a towering metropolis with more than ten million citizens.

This meant a lot of construction. A lot. New buildings wrapped in green tarp sprout up everywhere like strange secret laboratories. The bright white light of welding torches flash from behind these tarps eerily at all hours of the day and night. The clang and crash of pipes and beams being loaded and unloaded is constant throughout the day. Heaps of rubble are piled next to tidy stacks of cinder blocks. The air is dusty from all the ruckus. Each construction site has a row of white and blue temporary dormitory housing where the workers live while the work is being completed.

Our Chinese friends joke that the crane is the national bird of China. And I wouldn't be surprised if it really were. In the skyline immediately visible from our apartment windows I can count at least five construction cranes and two massive buildings in progress. Step outside and that number can climb to ten or twelve. The sheer number of skyscrapers and office towers is staggering.

Ten million people means a lot of apartments. During my yoga class in the mornings, while I"m supposed to be doing breathing deeply and perfecting my sun salutation, I stare out the window of the studio at the towering apartment complex and watch all the tiny people going about their days totally unaware of one another. I see a maid washing windows in the penthouse with an extra long mop. I see another lady just waking up and brushing her hair and absent mindedly staring out the window. Another man reads the paper and drinks his tea. This is a big place, getting bigger and stronger all the time. I can't help but be impressed.

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