Commuting back and forth to work over here can be a harrowing experience. Anyone familiar with Asia will agree that the driving style is a mixture of chaos and zen - cars seem to move randomly from lane to lane (and I say "lane" in the loosest of ways) and everyone cuts everyone else off. It's the automotive version of the way Chinese crowds work - no notion of waiting in line and priority of place. It's just about getting where you're going as quickly as possible.
Shenzhen is a crowded city with lots of traffic. A good portion of our ~45 minute commute is either trying to get to the expressway or get across the city. Cars move quickly in a never-ending game of chicken.
Once outside the crowded downtown, things open up and you get an idea of what it was like ten years ago. I remember lots of hills, huge expanses of red-orange dirt and a patchy canopy of trees. The sides of the road are lined with huge campuses emblazoned with odd-sounding Westernized names. Whether it's a literal translation of the actual company name or a description of their goals, there's no mistaking that the ownership is local.
Those little patches of greenery are the exception, however. Most of the streets are lined with aging high-rise apartment blocks that are desperately in need of a power wash and a coat of paint. There's a perpetual curtain of laundry hanging in every window and the "indoor" plumbing was clearly an afterthought.
There's an upside to all this madness, though. No matter where you are, no matter how long you've been in the van, you can always get something to eat. They even deliver.