Nicholas Quirke was stood on the shore of the Pearl River delta looking across the bay from Shenzhen at Hong Kong on 3 April 2021 and if it wasn’t for the situation with his visa and the Covid 19 situation, it would be the perfect time to visit. Unfortunately, if he were to go it was a unlikely that he could return to China Mainland at this point and he would have to content himself with gazing at the view and pondering on when this might all come to an end. The modern metropolis he was in seemed far away as he stood on the peaceful shoreline looking at its impressive skyline, watching herons, and shoals of fish and luxuriating amongst the tropical vegetation and enjoying it’s accompanying temperature. The had a long, serene walk along the promenade, stopped for a tea before making their way back to the city for some lunch. Getting to the subway from where they ended up was a problem and they ordered a Didi. As they waited a youth cigarette in hand came and just stood staring at him. He was surprised by the scrutiny as this thriving city seemed seemed relatively cosmopolitan compared to what he had experienced. Lunch was at an establishment called Nom Wah which had actually begun life in china town in New York. They were serving some of their dishes with plant based meat and it was the ideal place to eat before taking a look at some of the skyscrapers that the city boasted and dominated its views. They couldn’t have lunch without an accompanying bowl or two of Tong Sui and they cycled to another location to taste the delights of the recommended brand. They had moved through the two cities at a furious pace and feeling the strain they decided to back to the hotel to freshen up and relax. On the way they needed something cool and found what they thought was pure hawthorn ice lolly’s but turned out to be chilled caramelised hawthorns on a stick. The main event of the rest of the day was to visit the The Ping An International Finance Centre and see the city at night from above. It is a 115-story, 599 m (1,965 ft) supertall skyscraper which was designed by the American architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates and was completed in 2017, becoming the tallest building in Shenzhen, the 2nd tallest building in China and the 4th tallest building in the world. It also broke the record of having the highest observation deck in a building at 562 m (1,844 ft). Nicholas was going even higher, though he would be safely encased in glass. They were given a demonstration before taking the super fast lift The views were amazing and having seen Hong Kong from ground level he could now kook down on it from above. Once more the immense and intimidating landscape of the city he had been in was diminished to pieces of Lego from the great height. The building was taller 100m than the World Trade Centre had been and he could not help but remember the plight of those trapped in the attack who had flung themselves to their death rather than be burned and it filled him with a chill and sense of doom that he found difficult to shake off. On their return to earth they were compelled to finish the night with a final couple of bowls of Tong Sui before they would head back to Beijing the next day. Tired but satisfied and with thoughts of dieting he collapsed into bed and a fitful sleep.
Just catching up with what’s been happening, Nick. Hope all is well.