Sunday night I travelled to Shenzhen in the south of China for a business meeting. Shenzhen is only a 30 minute drive from the border to Hong Kong. It is another huge city – 20+ million people, but a fairly new city. in 1979 it was still a small village! It has greatly benefited from massive foreign investment and is designated as a Special Economic Zone – one of the most successful in China and is one of the fastest growing cities in the world.
The customer I was meeting is a large Chinese multi-national company. The morning went very well and then we broke for lunch. It was off to the canteen at lunch for a delicious buffet lunch. After which, our team returned back to the meeting room but I was amazed that all the lights were off. And, you could hear a pin drop! It is nap time at the office. I had never seen anything like this. The staff pull out thin mattress pads, pillows and blankets from under their desks or storage lockers. Some people even have a low cot/lounger bed. They then go to sleep, usually with their heads under their desks. I could even hear snoring!
People were OUT COLD. I so wanted to take a photo but refrained as I did not want to be disrespectful to our customer. I tiptoed past the cubicles trying to ensure that I did not disturb this patchwork quilt of sleeping. At 2:00pm, the lights again come up to full power and it is back to work!
At this same multi-national global company, I was amazed to find that the ladies toilets were all squat toilets. Oh my goodness, I would actually have to use one of these. I have successfully avoided them to date, often in discomfort, but still unwilling to try. Well, there is no choice this time – I have been drinking bottles of water like it is going out of fashion and I REALLY have to go. Mission accomplished, is all I am going to say on that subject!