Several clear signs that Shenzhen is gearing up for the holiday:
(1) Everyone is in overtime mode to finish work by the end of next week, so that they can get off as early as possible. New Year’s eve is Feb 9 and the first is Feb 10, but elementary students are already off and the streets have emptied significantly;
(2) Lunches and dinners with friends have increased as everyone is taking time to sit down and visit, which is somehow at odds with all the overtime that is being put in;
(3) The traffic cops are out confiscating motorbikes. It is only legal to ride motorbikes in small communities or campuses, it is illegal to ride motorbikes on the road or sidewalk. Every year, the traffic cops start hanging out at intersections and confiscating illegal bikes. I’m told the reason is to earn a little extra for the holiday by selling the bikes elsewhere. I’m also told that this has been going on for decades, and that when a friend of mine was in middle school, the cops hung out at intersections and snatched bicycles;
(4) Flowers have appeared at all the plant shops. The annual flower market is one of the highlights of a Guangdong New Year’s, and individuals purchase all sorts of lovely flowers for their balconies and homes;
(5) I’ve received warnings not to help children who say they are lost or need money to go home because the common sense is that they are part of some scam. I’ve been instructed to take the children to the nearest police station because if they are truly lost, they will go and if they are part of a scam, they will run away;
(6) Snakes of varying degrees of cuteness are on sale everywhere.