Saturday, December 06, 2014

Wanke's Fifth Garden

Another week or two goes by – alone. It’s kind of strange for the first time in more than 6 years to be sitting at home alone without a wife or kids, and for this to be the “normal” at least in the short-term. The evenings have a certain routine: get home from work, speak to Hannah and Andrea on skype before Hannah goes to sleep, then “cook” (depending on the definition of the word) dinner, then read or watch a movie or something (it seems really hard to find fake DVDs anywhere near where I live) and go to bed. On the weekends though there is a lot of time in a big apartment to myself, even after sleeping in a bit and going for a run. Well, it won’t be for too much longer!

It seems Autumn finally came to Shenzhen in the last week or so with the temperature dropping to around 12 degrees at night, though it is still around 18 or so in during the daytime. It’s actually a little chilly at night since there is not much point installing heating in places like Shenzhen when it’s only mildly cold for a month or two. It’s just a case of wearing some more clothes and getting cosy under the duvet, though I expect my air conditioning machines can also do hot air if need be.

The community I live in is great; there is a lot of grassy areas just downstairs for lying around on (for adults), or playing on (for kids); a few different playgrounds for kids, some fancy water and landscaped features, a table tennis table as well as a floodlit tennis court (which I presume requires a fee to use) in addition to the swimming pool of course (which also requires a fee and is currently closed until around April time, since it is an outdoor pool). It is quiet and green. Sitting on my balcony I can see out to the mountains that separate downtown Shenzhen from the suburbs, and I can see one of the several small reservoirs at the foot of the mountains. I run around another reservoir nearby which is popular with people cooking BBQs in little holiday homes, as well as fishing. The province-wide cycling path number 5 runs nearby so there are often mountain bikers taking a break having just (presumably) come up and down from the mountain.

It is a ginormous community (the name might relate to a nearby subway station called 5 rivers, or it might just be the 5th community built by the Wanke company) built in 9 different phases; each with several 20 story buildings (though a couple of phases have been built with townhouse-style 4 story buildings). It takes a good 10 minutes to walk through several of the phases to get to the local village which is buzzing with locals dancing on the street, local restaurants, street vendors, a good food market and a large supermarket. It’s great to be able to have the quiet of our community and then the buzz and “reality” of the local town—there is also a decent size supermarket and a few restaurants just downstairs too to save walking all the way over to the town. The community is so big that it has its own bus station with at least 6 different bus lines starting there. Fortunately there is also a bus stop on the main road by the side of the community where I live which has several buses heading north up it to my office in case I don’t cycle, and heading south onto the highway that goes downtown.

On Thursday, Andrea, Hannah, Leah—and even my Dad who is passing through on his way to the Philippines—will see it for the first time and I’m sure next weekend won’t be as quiet as this one.


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