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Adventures @Haxlr8r in China... 2015

How we got on and some advice for others

Late January we left Dublin for Shenzen (pronounced shenjen or at least that's how I pronounce it!) 
We quickly formed a team, left our university positions, and jumped in at the deep end! In the space of a few weeks, we had incorporated a company, opened a bank account, got our visa's from the chinese embassy and booked our tickets. 
There was a direct flight from Dublin to Hong Kong and we opted to take a taxi for about 700 yuan (pronounced quoi) from HK to Shenzhen. We were expecting a scary place but actually no... Shenzhen reminded me of something from bladerunner. So many skyscrapers being built (not unlike the US in the 1920's) electric bikes and scooters zipping around everywhere. Oh and the incessant beeping. Chinese people beep to make you get out of the way, they beep to say hello, they beep to show their displeasure, they beep for no reason. You get used to it! No bike helmets and cycling on the pavements too. You need to learn how to move fast in Shenzhen. 
Pollution on a bad day was not great but on the plus side the park in #Shenzhen is one of the most beautiful and largest I have ever seen. Great for running. 
Getting settled in...
The subway system was straightforward, very much like tokyo's but way cheaper. Most places in Shenzhen were walkable though. You could also buy a bike or electric scooter if you wanted. to get around. Plenty of taxis too, bring a card showing where you want to go... its easier. The drivers sometimes would pretend they would not understand and bring us on a mystery tour which was annoying so be aware. 
Plenty of places sell western food and there are a few places near the hax office that are actually quite good. there is a particular place where you can have a complete european style meal for like 10 euro! That's wine, ice cream, starters, pizza, etc  not bad eh? The local food can also be pretty good but you need a chinese person with you or be able to speak or read chinese as some of the places only had menus's in Chinese with no pictures. Coffee is cheapest at good enough at rainbows (the nearby supermarket where the old hax office was located) they also do donuts! and some weird cakes. The reason why the coffee is half good is all thanks to #opentrons. 
Cooking at home
haha no it never happened. We never had time and besides there was cockroaches and rats everywhere! no kidding. oh and mosquitoes, mozzies love me but I hate them. 
Lots of apartments to rent and will rent to westerners. A lot of teams holed up at the hotel across the road or got an apartment near the science museum. Those apartments aren't bad but rats and roaches are the norm. Sorry. 
The language
Worth learning? Yes, but pronunciation is a pain, often times the locals may or may not choose to understand you. If you are not chinese you will probably get not a great price at the electronics market. Send a chinese person instead or better yet just use taobao. Actually the only word you need to learn and the only thing you need to do is taobao. Taoboa is your friend. 
Did I mention Taoboa? taoboa... 
Good luck!
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