Tuesday, 10 July 2012
Slow Bloke To China: 7. Lo Wu and The Walk Of Discomfort
A trip from Hong Kong to Guangzhou will take 48 minutes in 2015, when the new High Speed Railway is finished. Even now, it is just under two hours. In 1979, it wasn't.
But it wasn't bad. The first new direct Express was being unveiled.
Lo Wu, the famous border crossing was in the process of being wound down. No more chugging train from Hong Kong, arduous walking over the bridge with your hevy suitcase, long wait at custome and chugging train to Guangzhou. Air-conditioned efficiency with efficient customs on the train and loudspeakers at full volume with Chinese orchestras playing The Moon Mirrored In The Pool and Dance Of The Yao People.
I visited Shenzhen since and saw a brand spanking new Chinese city. Everything was shining, yet to my great delight, in the middle of this modernity was the old corrigated iron canopy of Lo Wu station. It had been preserved like Checkpoint Charlie, or Stalin's cottage in Gori, Georgia.
Now I am not sure if it is still there or not.
'A city without buildings is like a person without a memory,' said the 1960's town planner of Leicester, Konrad Smigielski.
He would not have approved of Shenzhen.
He would not have approved of China.