China has been growing since I've been gone and the changes I've witnessed since my last trip are pretty amazing. Not just steps ahead or leaps but (at the risk of exposing my recent binge watching of Star Trek Voyager) China is changing at warp speed.
First there are the cars. Coming int o Guangzhou from Hong Kong, I saw dozens of Prius', Toyotas, Hondas, Nissan Sentras, all reliable and all middle class, and absolutely all of them are new cars on the road. None of the odd brand mini-euro sport cars (like the Opal) or Russian cars of past. Absolutely no half cars (one used to see half a BMW and half a Mercedes in one car, as if they were welded together somehow) and no jalopies to speak of.
After I landed I took a car "limo" or minivan-taxi with 5 other people to GZ, it's a two part journey. There's the taxi part through customs, civilized as you please. Then you hop off and grab a bus after Shenzhen. It was about 200 RMB and that's a good deal. I worried there might be someone smoking in the car (smoking still is acceptable in confined spaces) or god forbid Russian disco (not again!) but my worries were unfounded. In the car, I rode shotgun... I think no one wanted to sit with the white person. :) It would have been too culturally awkward for a lot of people. Either that or I had too much luggage with me. No worries, I had the front seat all to myself! When the driver gestured to sit in front, I was standing on the left side of the car. Moving to take my seat, I started to round the front of the car to hop in. "Wait" he said and he gestured for me to come back and opened the right front door. "Oh, of course!" I said, embarrassed, it was a right hand drive, and the passenger's seat is on the left! So I hopped in on the left and had a front seat ride.
I noticed on the Radio "hashtag" has become a new part of Hong Kongese. There were advertisements in Chinese and then you hear "hashtag, hashtag" and the ad would continue in Chinese selling clothes, appliances or deals at restaurants.
From my front seat view I saw very good weather ahead. The skies were slightly overcast but there was a gentle warmth and a light breeze. As we crossed the river over the Pearl river she shone grey blue and glowed in the soft overcast light. Hello Guangzhou.