April 25, 2014

Shenzhen, China - Dong Men (东门) 4km

Dongmen Shopping Belt outside our hotel
It's the time of the year again for my yearly pilgrimage up north again to look for one of my favorite food: Pig/Duck/Chicken Blood. The 5 days trip include eating, shopping and massage around Shenzhen and Hong Kong. This time round, my travel mate is Bad Bear, who also brought his running shoes along, determined to get some workout during his holidays.

However, shortly after we touch down, we had a disagreement on the timing of the run...

Me, "Bro, let's wake up tomorrow morning and run at 7am!"

Bad Bear, "Who in the right mind runs at 7am in the morning! I am a night runner. Let's run in the evening!"

"But, the programs for the evening include a hearty Sichuan Hotpot, shopping along Dong Men(东门) and a 2 hours massage!"

Bad Bear, "Hmmm, that's so true. How about we run at 10am tomorrow morning?"

"10am! The sun will be up and the traffic will be heavy! Who in the world runs at 10am!"

"Nevermind, let's see how late we party till tonight!"

We got back to our hotel at 1am....

The next morning 7am..

"Hey Bro, I going out for a run. You want to come?"


I guess I am on my own!

The April morning at Shenzhen was pretty cooling at around 19 degrees. There are quite a number of parks and gardens around Shenzhen and I headed for the nearest one north of my hotel. On the way to the park, I spotted a nice little pond and a couple of old folks play chess by the pond. There were 4 table tennis table by the side of the pond, which were fully utilized. Table tennis is one of the most popular sport in China and it is not hard to see their passion for this sport, if the residents can get up at 7am in the morning in order to work out at the table tennis tables. This area seems to be the local community center for the district as I spotted a child care center, a sports center and a community center. I hit a dead end at the 1km mark and had to U-turn and look for a side path that will lead me to the main road to my objective.
The modernistic skyscrapers of Shenzhen

The Chinese are passionate about Table Tennis
A small pond at a local community area
This is one of the reasons why I love to run overseas. You get to explore places that the locals hang out, rather than the touristy area which we are accustomed to.

A few more hundred meters along the main road and I reached the People's Park (人民公园). Seems like the park has a certain historical value which warrants an explanation of its history at the front gate in both Chinese and English.

The Park was bustling with activities. Other than the usual crowd of senior folks doing their work out all around the park, there were pockets of street vendors, who set up shop along the perimeter of the park, selling fresh vegetables and fruits. This is not unlike the scene in Bangkok when I visited the Lumpini park . Seems like Parks and Markets go hand in hand in many countries!

The landscaping at the Park is pretty interesting. There is a huge lake in the middle, surrounded by bamboo trees and the pavement are well maintained (You can learn from this Malaysia!) and beautifully designed. Running through a bamboo forest gives you a sense of Zen. Combine that with chirping birds and a tranquil pond with frogs croaking, it is one of the most interesting park runs I ever had, despite its small size. The public toilet is clean and well-maintained, which is quite unexpected, given the horrible reputations of Chinese public toilets. In fact, after the recent trip to France and Germany, I came to a conclusion that public toilets in China, might be better maintained than those in Europe.

There is also a Bonzai garden at the north most end of the Park. However, a gate stood in my way and I had to continue my way after taking a quick snapshot of the garden.

Along the People's Park Rd name after the Park
The Entrance of the People's Park
Park Layout
History Lesson Time!
Vegetables! Anyone?
Look at the crowd!
Park bustling with people doing brisk walking
Running through the Bamboo path
The Pond. See the Lark in the middle of the pond? Guess if
it's real or plastic?
Beware of snakes!!
Public toilet at the Park
The Bonzai Garden. A gate barred my path
After I completed my first round of the garden, the familiar ache on my left knee started to materialize. It seemed like I had almost reach the limit of my run for the day. I decided to cut my exploration short and headed back to the hotel. I wonder when will my knee ever be fully healed!

By the time I got back to the hotel, it was 8am. The room was of course still in total darkness with Bad Bear still snoring away.

I took a shower, making a lot of noise in the process. Bear still asleep.

I went downstairs for the complimentary breakfast, read my news on the iPad and came back up. Bear still asleep.

At 1130am, Bear did his first sit-up of his day and said, "Bro, lets go for breakfast!"

It's time for lunch anyway.......   

Location: Luohu, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China


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