Shenzhen – naps and squat toilets

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!

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