Dongmen road — an attack on the senses! Come up from the metro at Loajie (blue line number 3) and be prepared to get visual, auditory, and olfactory overload. The Chinese way amongst the retailers in this fake goods paradise is to simply get your attention by being much louder than the competitors. Which means you walk along to varying sounds of clackers, claps, whistles and shouts. Standing at every shop doorway you have an array of ladies and gents with megaphones detailing the latest deals, and offers that you won’t want to miss. At least I think that’s what they’re saying- to my shame I still haven’t got to grips with the language.
Younger shop assistants clapping as you walk by, catch your eyes and beckon you to enter their store. Across the streets, delivery carts weave in and amongst the shoppers who are only there for one thing-a bargain. As indeed we were. Taking a trip to fake goods paradise is brilliant! Not just because you walk off with some fabulous stuff (if you’re in to clothing that has no longevity, electrical goods that are liable to fizzle and give up on you the second time of using them, and plastic tat and hair bobbles) but because walking down the road itself is actually filled with excitement.
On the way up to the main stretch of shops, you pass beefed up versions of Arkwright’s (except in China, everything really is open all hours) containing household goods in various gaudy coloured plastics, Chinese eateries with their stained formica tables, and then you get to the biggest kitchen gadgetry shop imaginable. Take a stroll through the passages that contain everything you could possibly want in a kitchen, everything that you never knew you wanted (but do now) and items you never even knew existed. Unfortunately, as often happens when you have sooooo much choice, you leave with nothing! That’s a trip for another day and it’s one that the chief cook of the household is probably better making alone!
From Nike to Gucci, and unbranded goods to top end brands, the main focus of the area is fashion, with a healthy dose of home decor and popular culture – enter anime heaven for our daughter. The escalators lead up and beyond, to a range of independent retailers selling an array of manga, anime, and playstation games. Be warned though – not all anime is age appropriate, and our daughter’s 13 year old eyes had to be averted on a number of occasions as the small plastic figurines displayed their plastic bodies in various states of undress and in some VERY suggestive poses! Fortunately this was intermingled with some very cute little characters and other cute items.
The Dongmen road, was for us, China at its most Chinese- loud, colourful, exciting, brash and fun. However, it got the the point where we were saturated with the culture and the language, and laziness took over. The first MacDonalds to ever be opened in China is at the end off the road. We decided to pay homage to this cultural landmark. Enter the golden archways and ascend the stairs to be greeted by a number of self service order points, with an option to use English. After two months so far in Shenzhen we felt a cheat day was in order, and revelled in being able to actually fully understand a menu. To order your food and know exactly what you are getting felt good – really good! As we waited for our supersized goodies we took the chance to people watch. Not much happening here – most of them were asleep. I guess The Dongem Road can be just as exhausting for the locals as it is for us.
Couldn’t resist including some photos of us taking a break at Maccy Dees.
After lunch, we headed to the more salubrious part of town and took a trip into the mall. This was after a pit stop at ‘Yomp’ a great little shop for absolute crappy little bits and pieces. But come on- a pashmina for 10RMB (about a quid) picture frames for 15RMB (£1.60 ish) and packets of hairgrips for 3RMB (you do the math) it was cheap shopping at its best. The mall was upmarket in comparison, but not as classy as some of the others that we have frequented (and so far, we have done A LOT of malls.) It had some great little craft shops and more in the way of homewares. We ended the day with a trip to ‘The Wooderful Land.’ A great place with a whole array of carved goodies, from dancing Snoopies to a great wooded train than runs on its track above your heads.
From ‘The Wooderful Land’ we bought a few cacti, to go with the frames and gem trees from ‘Yomp.’ A great way to display some original artwork provided by our daughter.