|Kids coerced into posing for the camera at OCT HARBOUR in Shenzhen|
|Some funky mouse pads that verge on the subversive|
In the afternoon we visited two complexes, each with the acronym OCT which stands for "Overseas Chinese Town." The first one is OCT-LOFT Art Terminal, which was formerly a cluster of factories apparently making different products and were abandoned a few years ago. Since then small boutiques and independent restaurants (and yes Starbucks too) have breathed new life into the place.
|Casual eateries inhabit spaces that were formerly factories|
|Beautiful murals on the sides of factories|
The second place, called OCT HARBOUR is a massive restaurant complex that is a great place to walk around like a park, which makes it more of a destination area. At the entrance we were greeted by a massive futuristic silver thing that looked alien next to modern Chinese buildings. We were told one of the most popular dining spots here is 本家 or Ben Jia, a Korean restaurant that has a whopping 300 seats in it and if you get there by 6pm, you have to wait an hour for a table, and there are no reservations, unless you book a private room which involves a minimum charge.
|A space-age "thing" at OCT HARBOUR|
On the whole we were quite impressed by Shenzhen's speed of modernization. It's cleaner and more international than most Chinese cities, though we have to say the software is still a bit rough around the edges. Driving is reminiscent of Beijing, with the constant need to do U-turns and our driver even went the opposite direction of a one-way street to get out of OCT HARBOUR which was disconcerting, but he said everyone else was doing the same...
|A collection of restaurants in a beautiful setting|