Surfing, photography and kung fu tea have become important themes in the life of Jesse Warren, an American who has lived in Shenzhen for more than three years.
As an exchange student at Hong Kong University in 2003, Warren was compelled to capture his new environment through photography. After graduation, he found a job in Shenzhen with the Center for Teaching and Learning in China, a language training organization. He has been with them ever since.
Warren said: "I like to travel off the beaten path in the countryside," a hobby that has taken him to numerous villages throughout Guangdong. He was especially fascinated by kung fu tea in Chaozhou.
"I like Chaozhou tea and the culture it represents because people there are really nice and always treat me like a family member," said Warren.
Now Warren regularly drinks kung fu tea with his Chinese friends, and is going back to Chaozhou during the National Day holiday.
An avid surfer, Warren goes to Xichong beach at least once a week. "There is no other feeling like being in the water and surfing waves. It's amazing!" says Warren. He says the beach at Xichong is nearly as good as those in Hawaii.
Photography also enables him to have a better understanding of Shenzhen, a dynamic city, which he loves very much.
"I especially enjoy night-time photography because it is peaceful and relaxing. There is a lot of waiting involved with long exposures, so it gives me a chance to slow down and appreciate the beauty," said Warren. The hobby has taken him to the top of many skyscrapers, where vistas of the city provide perfect scenery to photograph.
"I like the energy and excitement of Shenzhen. It's also easy to find a smile in public; people are usually very friendly and this really brightens my day," Warren said, who is proud to call Shenzhen his "home away from home."
(Shenzhen Daily September 26, 2007)