- Master of Time
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- Location: Peace River, Alberta
Ed was going to join us from his home in Hong Kong, and Brad lives in Shenzhen (wait till you see where...) and so I'd looked for a hotel in the same general area of Shenzhen as Brad.
I didn't expect what I found, but as soon as I saw this very unusual hotel, I booked right away. As folks who follow my trips know, I travel on a budget and usually set aside about $50/day for lodging. This was more--but not so stupidly more it was out of the question. And I'd soon find out that the the extra $30 or $40 was very much still a bargain.
Allow me to introduce the Minghua Cruise Inn in Shenzhen's Shekou district, also known as the Sea World area of Shenzhen (no, not any connection with the North American fish zoos of a similar name).
The Minghua/Cruise Inn started life as the MV Ancerville, a 551 ft., 14,000 ton French passenger liner.
Between 1962 and 1983, she had a two decade long career in active sea-going passenger service, first for France (Europe to north-western Africa) till 1973, then for the PRC (between China and Africa) to 1983. Since then she's had two periods as an active hotel: 1983 to 1998, then 2004 to the present. The Cruise is now landlocked, and surrounded by fun.
(Details courtesy Wikipedia.)
I arrived in Shenzhen shortly after 1:30PM, and was very quickly met by Brad. I booked myself in to the hotel, and Ed turned up maybe 20 minutes later.
Ed and Brad talk, while most everyone else in this beautiful area ponders their phones, and here's me, Ed and Brad--at Starbucks, no less--Shenzhen Sea World.
Guess what we talked about? Well, among other things, you'll notice I'm taking a common WIS pose, brand new watch happily in hand.
The watch is a very gratefully-received gift from Ed to the AMCHPR collection, a 2015 Watchuseek F71 (Affordables Forum) Bundeswehr Mechanical Chronograph Project watch, seen below on its original black strap (as presented), and on the brown leather strap I normally use for it. The third photo is the beautiful see-through case back, displaying the Sea-Gull ST19 column-wheel chronograph movement.
We talked about lots more than just wristwatches--we're friends as well as watch buddies--but as I noted earlier, I intended my time in Shenzhen at least as much as relaxation and tourism time for me as horology focused .
I still had lots of pretty much pure clock and watch time to come
Brad, Ed and I filled up the rest of the afternoon wandering around the very local area around the Cruise...here's some shots...
Ed, watching Brad's son playing on the sunning rack, with a bunch of other kids and parents/grandparents.
Ed had to leave in the later afternoon, but I'm grateful Ed took the time to visit and it was a treat to see him again after our first meeting in Shenzhen at CWCF 2015. It'd been far too long since we had a face-to-face, even if we're in contact cyber-style. Ain't near the same.
Brad and I continued to hang, though! Brad's wife joined us and we went for dinner at a local...hamburger place!! Gourmet hamburgers, done western style. Actually, high quality done, western style. I checked and somehow I didn't get a photo of Brad and his wife
Just dumb of me.
...but here's the view from where we ate overlooking the mountains of Hong Kong in the far distance...
...and some shots taken as the sun headed slowly down.
The Minghua Cruise Inn has a nightly fountain show as soon as it gets dark. (It was kinda crowded, so please excuse the shakes...)
That brought us to sundown, so we headed to Brad's home. Remember when wrote that Bad lived close? He lives five minutes from the ship! Here's the view from Brad's place...
The low overcast sky, present on and off all day, allowed for this shot...
Here's a couple more videos to help get a real feel for the place (up to 1080p if you want it).
Which gets us to my hotel. Here's what about $90 got me
I just like this photo, so...
I had a great shipboard breakfast the following morning, and then Brad and I met, first at his apartment (see the higher views, below) and then for a bit of a walk to the coastline area before I headed back to Guangzhou.
Far too short a time in this beautiful area, but I can fix that next trip. Huge thanks to Brad for fine hospitality while I was in Shenzhen!!
I left Shenzhen at noon to meet Mr. Hui again, who expected me at about 3:00PM that afternoon for a scheduled meeting with Ms. Fu Ping, the Executive Vice President of Guangzhou Shangguang Watch Co. Ltd, now--so I understand--the owners of the Shanghai Watch Factory trademark...
...but that's for next installment
"That stone buddha deserves all the birdshit it gets. I wave my skinny arms like a tall flower in the wind." Ikkyu