Shenzhen (2)

Wednesday 11/10

Wake up quite early, at 7:30am. Short night, moreover interrupted by the cries of Florence who is sick and has a headache.

We go downstairs to take the buffet breakfast, quite ‘dull’ (as usual at Fraser).

We leave around 11am with the willingness/hope to be back around 4-5pm to enjoy the swimming pool (but we know ourselves and I’d rather bet on coming back around 8:30pm…).

We take the metro. We knew it would take some 45′ (21 stations!) and we accordingly took something to read (and to study for the kids).

Today we want to see the shops for what Shenzhen is known: hardware. The majority of the worldwide production is indeed made here, in Shenzhen. We go to Huaqiangbei, the city’s electronics district; it is a commercial area home to thousands of electronics stores. Here, shoppers can find a profusion of both finished products and components, with everything from computer parts to robot babysitters.

We first enter a mall full of sellers of electronics components (with loads of bundles of electronic chips). We don’t do all the floors but on the second floor we can see 3D printers, robots to clean windows and floors, etc.

We then go to Saige (SEG) Electronics Market Plaza, where we spend at least 3 hours, only interrupted to go and eat a sandwich at Subway.

In this Huaqiangbei district, we rapidly see why Shenzhen is called “the silicon valley of hardware”: wandering the endless wholesale kiosks of Huaqiangbei’s malls, where tech entrepreneurs, hackers, and makers gather, we can find every electronic component and gadget imaginable, laid out like so many spices in a bazaar.

We of course cannot resist. We buy a waterproof case (up to 40m) for the iPhone 7 (250 RMB, unnegotiable), which would enable us to take pictures (and make movies) during our dives in Philippines, Australia and Galapagos. We also get Florence’s iPad repaired (with a new screen protection and a new case); total cost = 290 RMB. Other purchases include 4 pairs of AirPods (not the original ones but of good quality, at 170 RMB each), a case for Ludivine’s iPhone, a 512 GB stick (100 RMB) to be able to transfer data from iPhone to computers (the stick has both a USB and a lightning connectors), a spare 128GB SanDisk memory card for my camera, an HDMI adapter for iPhone (easy to connect to the tv) and finally a flash light (for selfies) for Ludivine’s iPhone.

We go also to Makeblock shop. Isabelle saw this shop in our Sea World district yesterday and was impressed by their products. Makeblock ( is a robotics startup (from Shenzhen) established in 2013. Its main brand, Makeblock, is a leading DIY robotics construction and STEM education platform for makers, hobbyists, STEM learners, and educators. Makeblock empowers people to turn ideas into reality by providing STEM Kits, Tech Kits, DIY Kits, a building block platform of over 500 mechanical parts and easy-to-use electronic modules, graphical programming software, and online and offline courses. It is the Lego of tomorrow, or rather of today already…

We then go by metro to a 3D café, located in the KK Mall, which Ludivine found on internet. The ordered cookies are prepared by 3D printers. We unfortunately don’t have the patience to wait for the baking time (20′) after the 20′ preparation by the printer (Florence doesn’t feel well and it’s time to go back home). The café is cool. You can also have a body and face scans, which enable them to make a 3D figurine of you. Quite amazing!

We take the metro to go back. I was wrong regarding our return time: it’s not 8:30pm but 9pm…

We prepare a salad for diner.

Kids are in their beds at 22pm.


Thursday 12/10

It’s weekend for the kids.

We skip the breakfast downstairs and I cut fruits.

Florence still doesn’t feel well.

Ludivine does a facemask for the first time; she enjoys.

Isabelle goes to Dafen Village in Buji District, which hosts hundreds of artists selling both replica oil paintings and their own original works. Here below is her description:

Il y a des endroits sur terre qui sont vraiment étonnants… Dans Shenzhen, il y a un « village » de peintres. On s’imagine des petites maisons rassemblées en village un peu perdues dans la campagne. En fait, à 20km de Shenzhen, il y a toujours autant de tours et de monde qu’au centre. A Dafen, au rez-de-chaussée d’un quartier de buildings, on trouve toutes des petites allées et ruelles où les gens ne font que peindre. A l’huile et à l’acrylique, sur des toiles, des reproductions de peintures connues ou des créations originales, vendues dans des jolies boutiques, ou posées à même le sol dans les couloirs en plein air entre les bâtiments. Les artistes sont au travail, mangent ou dorment à côté de leurs œuvres. Il y a aussi beaucoup d’encadreurs (menuisiers, etc…).

En me baladant dans Dafen, dans une petite ruelle cachée, je suis tombée sur une grosse imprimante sur toile (un peu comme une imprimante pour tirer des plans). Donc je crois, en fait, qu’ils impriment les tableaux connus sur ces toiles et que les artistes se « contentent simplement » de repasser avec de la peinture sur ces toiles pré-imprimées pour donner un peu de relief et rendre le tableau plus vraisemblable. Ceci pourrait expliquer pourquoi les toiles sont tellement bien copiées…

En tous cas, c’est un quartier assez incroyable, où il règne une chouette ambiance mi-artiste, mi-industrielle, un quartier où on sent la création… ‘à la chinoise’ !

I write one post (2 days of Shanghai, for which I hadn’t written anything; it’s always more difficult…).

I prepare a salad for the kids before going back (around 2pm) to the SEG Electronics Market Plaza). I indeed wanted to see more of this buzzling place and get inspired by new ideas.

It takes me again 45’ to go there. I start reading the guidebooks on Hong Kong (where we go tomorrow…). I meet Isabelle there. We first go back to one of the vendors where we bought the “2-entry” stick yesterday because it doesn’t work. He exchanges it immediately.

We wander for 2h30 in other buildings, all selling most of the same stuff (electronics components, computers components, drones, cameras, led lights, etc.) The place is impressive.

We go back to Sea World area around 6pm. Before going back to the apartment, we go and buy (by Ofo bikes) the tickets for the ferry to Hong Kong tomorrow (at 1:30pm). The ferry terminal building is impressive.

We reach the apartment a bit before 8pm. A quick shower and we go to eat nearby. We struggle a bit to find a restaurant and we end up on a terrace of an Australian steak restaurant. Good but pricey.

We go back around 10pm.

We work until 1am.

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