I arrive in big, bustling Hong Kong.
It’s as humid as hell, but who cares? It has some of the best shopping in the world!
Time is limited. I’m here for just three days and there’s so much to see and do.
I’ve been here before, so I focus on the stuff I haven’t done: I catch the ferry to Kowloon, go shopping, ascend one of the world’s tallest towers, go shopping, walk around Hong Kong University with an old friend, go shopping…
On my last day, I toss up between a day trip to Macau to see the Portuguese ruins (I’ve wanted to do this for years) or follow my aunt’s advice and do a 10-hour roundtrip to Shenzhen for some awesome shopping.
Seeing as I haven’t done that much shopping, I decide on the latter.
Bound for the bullet train station, I’m picked up by a mini bus.
It’s full of Aussies. Old Aussies from the country! So for hours I listen, and occasionally chime in, to stories about back pain, grandkids and other stuff old people talk about.
One man can hardly walk – he’s got a bung leg. He tells me he fought in Vietnam and now travels around Western Australia catching crayfish. A true Aussie battler.
Shenzhen seems pleasant enough. We walk through a picturesque park, visit a jade museum and enjoy a tea ceremony.
Meanwhile, the tour guide keeps talking up our pending visit to Luohu Commercial City, or “the biggest shopping mall in the world with 1200 shops” as the guide calls it.
Luohu Commercial City, Shenzhen.
Chinese yuan in hand, I can barely contain myself.
We finally arrive at Luohu.
They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. So when I take the steps up to this soulless-looking building which looks just a fraction of the size of any big shopping center back home, I try to remain positive.
My positivity, however, quickly takes a nose dive when I realise that the mall is actually a downtrodden flea market.
Yes, there are 1200 shops, but each is only a few square feet big. And most are selling the same junk as the shop next door. Such disappointment!
We’re allocated two-and-a-half hours to explore the center. I’m done in 15 minutes after the third shady character approaches me and demands I follow them to a “private warehouse”. No thanks.
Feeling rather unhappy, I find solace in a nearby KFC. I order a chocolate sundae and sit down with the old Aussie battler whose leg is playing up.
We talk about everything but shopping. We smile.
Have you been to Luohu Commercial City in Shenzhen? If so, what did you think of it? Have your say below.