Solo Date #34- Ming Wah International Convention Centre, Shenzhen.

Ming Wah Convention Centre, Shekhou,Shenzhen.

Solo Date # 34 in Shenzhen, China.

Being on an unusual trip (for me that is), which is a mix of business, shopping and hardly any photography (due to the rain and a time constraint) I need to unwind after my return from Guangzhou.

By the time I reach Shenzhen and check into the new property-Ming Wah, it’s already past lunch time. I head towards the electronics market to check out the latest drones and car dash cameras. The difference in price, if you pick up a single piece is so miniscule, that it doesn’t seem worth the effort and the risk to me. 

By five in the evening, I am famished, so I walk into the first eatery I see- a KFC. An Indian man ( seems to be), is standing next to me, trying to explain to his Chinese companion what he wants. It makes me smile. He notices that and starts to chat. He is from Pakistan and is there to make some purchases. We chat for a bit about photography, batteries and lot containers and then I head back towards Ming Wah.

I’m exhausted, so I stop at the 7-Eleven, opposite the centre, to grab some food for dinner and the next morning’s breakfast. The bus ride that the hotel provides for is at 7.20 a.m, which means I got to turn in early, to bed. I draw myself a bubble bath, put on -‘I got you under my skin’ and ‘My baby just cares for me’, on repeat and get back to the book I picked up from the airport-‘ Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows’. 

What a riot, it is! It is my brand of feminism-  subtle, layered, funny, non judgemental and about the sisterhood. The characters are relatable not just for anyone who comes from a Punjabi family, the women could be our sisters or mothers, irrespective of what kind of background we come from or where in the world we are based.

 The characters are well etched but I absolutely love Arvinder’s story. The curbing of women’s passion to control them is not written about, enough. When I was still just a child, I  realised that the way men subjugated women was not just through aggression and violence, it was also through sex. Not just the kind that you think, not just rape. It was through the withholding of sex and that too was a form of dominance, an act of controlling a woman, men who suffered from inferiority complexes usually used manipulation.

 In Arvinder’s case, she’s much taller than the man she’s married to and when she asks for sex, he threatens to leave her. She goes ahead and has an affair, something that her daughter finds out about, during Nikki’s storytelling  classes. ‘I’m going to get my freaking to-be-husband, to sign a prenuptial agreement. Irregular sex is going to be a ground for divorce’, I promise myself. ‘It’s also the choice women make’, I continue to ponder, ‘trading in passion for financial security, societal approval and the word that all married women use to make themselves feel better-companionship.’ 

‘It’s good you like your own company, Diyuu Singh!’, I think to myself as I fall asleep. 

Solo Date #30-Shenzhen, China 

Solo Dates in China

Solo dates in Shenzhen

What do you do, on a rainy day in a strange city? Drink tea, of course!

I don’t pay heed to the words of my young friend – Andy, who insists ‘if I am not careful someone will kidnap me and sell me off! It happens, you know?’, he asks, as he drops me off at the hotel. I just nod, as I usually do when I am not going to listen to the concerned party but respect their opinion enough, to not argue.

So off I go, walking in the rain on Nan Shan Boulevard, on a fine Saturday afternoon. The first place that catches my fancy is Ten Fu’s tea boutique. I spend the rest of the day, learning how to make tea correctly ( all this time I have been preparing it the wrong way ) and hopping from one store to another adding to my collection of white teas.

After all the tea sipping and walking around, I step into a local restaurant for lunch. A number of women are sitting around, hiding from the rain, fiddling with their phones and eating big bowls of soupy noodles. I order my own big bowl, of what will get me into trouble with ‘gav rakshaks’ and just stare into a disconnected world of gadgetry!

Solo Trip To China

So here I am, in the land of the Red Dragon, for the very first time. Apparently, I visited Hong Kong and Taiwan when I around six or seven years old. But you know how fantabulous my memory is! Like the couple of pictures in the old album which faded, so have all my memories.

So,  this is technically not the kind of journey I embark upon. It’s a serious business trip, the first one I have ever been on- that requires for me to play adult. Ya, ya, I know I entered adulthood a couple of decades ago…but my friend…let the body not fool you.

As for fooling, there I was assuming to be the shit..oh my God so bloody good at the masking and all…and not one but a couple of different people broke my illusion. As you are aware, I hate flying! So on the flight to Hong Kong (then took a ferry to Shenzen), I watched that God forsaken film a number of people asked me to see, to keep myself distracted. Well, so much for the autobiography my brother wanted me to write. After watching the film I realised it ain’t going be that interesting, after all! What a snooze it is to be so damn predictable! 

Anyhow, Shannon my co passenger from Ireland, was travelling to Hong Kong for the very first time to get a gig as an English teacher. Though, the men in my family have been doing this for decades, I had no idea what this journey would be like for a single woman. At the Shekhou port the lady at immigration, gave me a hard time. That should have been my first clue. 

Though, the business associates, picked me up and helped me to check into the hotel, even at the best of places, there are very few who understand English and even fewer who speak it. The language barrier is worse than it was in Europe. The people also seem a bit indifferent, so no one smiles back or greets you. It’s almost like being invisible in a strange land. 

Plus Google baba and Facebook don’t work (only on International Roaming you can gain access). But it is not for leisure, may not be pleasant but it is an adventure, nonetheless. Plus, I always find ways to make mischief…just got to confront the wall.