If you’ve not been to Shenzhen recently, you’re in for quite a change! The skies have never been bluer (well gray now b/c of all the rain), the air never more humid, streets a little less smelly than now. Factories are being closed, cars pulled off the roads (voluntarily actually- no joke), and street vendors pulled off the sidewalks. This is of course in preparation for the highly anticipated University Games hosted by Shenzhen this August! Unsure of what the University Games are? Don’t worry you’re not alone. From what I’ve gathered, this is basically a pre-Olympics for potential Olympic athletes.
So what’s the big deal? No doubt much like the Olympics, World Expo, and Asian Games (hosted by Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou respectively) Shenzhen is taking this opportunity to show off to the world. If only the world knew what the heck the Unversiade actually was! I like to think of this whole ordeal actually as a big excuse for the Shenzhen government to drastically improve its infrastructure. Wow has it improved! I don’t mean to brag on my 2nd home, but I must say living here post 3 new lines of Subway (plus extensions of the 2 previous lines) is ten times better than before. But it’s not just the subway- roads have been widened and re-paved (here’s to you Shen Nan Lu), drab medians have been replaced with foliage and trees (though I can’t wait to see the trees actually plant roots in these medians in the future more than likely destroying them [think of the elevated sidewalks around trees in any city around the world, and now imagine that in the center divide of 8 lane roads])
Of course there is the dark side of this progression. My local shao kao (street bbq vendors) have gone into hiding, walking through the subway checkpoints is a true test of patience, and of course a personal plug for OTIS! Yes thanks to a problem in a few of your escalators and elevators around China, a boy passed in Beijing, people in Shenzhen have been hurt as well as a reported death in Yan’an.
You can read more about their triumphs in product quality here-
One can only assume what actually went wrong here (and it’s only 3 incidents [3 too many though]). All I know, is that my knees hurt more from all of the extra stairs! While some of the busier subway stops have escalators that are functioning, most when you walk on them curiously don’t have the OTIS label on them. All OTIS escalators have now been ordered to be shut down for quality checks (if not for permanent replacement) which might make things interesting here in Shenzhen in the next 4-6 weeks with the expected increase in traffic. If nothing else, perhaps Quality and Quality checks will become a more standard practice throughout China. (we can all hope!)
D. Bruns, Ex. Director- CSIC