today i started exploring the houhai land reclamation project further west, walking from shekou industrial road #8 toward dongjiaotou port.
at first, i had no specific goal other than getting onto reclaimed land and snapping a few photos. however, at the end of i.r. #8, i was stopped by a soldier, whose youth distressed me. i would say he was no older than 16, but when asked, he claimed to be 18 and meet all the requirements for joining the army and carrying a gun, which rested prominantly on his boney hip. he told me that access to the area was restricted because it was the new national border (边界). suddenly, i needed a reason to be on the reclaimed land. i pointed to the western corridor suspension bridge and said that i wanted to take some pictures of the bridge. he politely asked me to leave. i stared pointedly at the people walking on and off the area and he finally went over to a couple and asked to see their passes.
now determined to get onto the landfill, i walked to i.r. #7, where a brick wall blocked my way. i tried walking around it, but a deep gully prevented me from successfully getting on. however, neither soldiers nor security guards prevented access. at the yucai-schumann art school, which is located right at the boundary between public and filled land, i tried to talk the security guard into letting me walk to the back of their school to take a picture. he refused, but helpfully directed me back to the end of the road, when i said it was impossible to get onto the landfill, he seemed doubtful because, he saw workers (打工的) heading that way every day.
nevertheless, one of the parents from the school started talking with me and offered to take me into his new housing development to go to the top of a building to take pictures. it turns out, the gentleman from hebei works for the oil industry and had just completed overseeing the construction of a refinery in zhuhai. he mentioned that he had taken photographs of the entire construction process, “from nothing to a beautiful refinery.” he agreed that it was important to document this process, otherwise we would forget where we had come from. “where are the pictures now?” i asked. in zhuhai.
i then walked to the street immediately west of i.r. #7 and there was direct access onto the reclaimed area. i stepped onto the landfill and headed toward the bridge, my confidence growing with every step; no one here would stop me. i inhaled the fishy smell of rotting shells and stepped through air thick with flies. as i headed further out, i stumbled upon a shantytown and watched several children playing. i watched the dust a pair of once-red flip flops kicked up as a woman pushed an old bike past me. i looked again toward the bridge, but decided i had accomplished my task. i believe an old man watched me leave.
the tour ends with a view of new coastal real estate.