Sunday, October 22, 2006

Getting off the subway at Wangfujing Street (the big shopping street) station, I ended up in a huge mall. Extraoridnary! So many foreign products--from Oreal, to Olay, to Ponds, to KFC, McD, to designer clothes. And a fastastic food court with stands offering the most delicious, fresh-looking dishes all for less than 2 euros a dish. I found this team making dumplings really cute. They had their assembly line-like method down pat, that's for sure. Speaking of food, last night at my local place down the street, I made a "gaffe". I tipped my waitress, and the Chinese girls eating at the table next to mine and with whom I'd be talking during the meal didn't approve. They said that was the girl's job and she shouldn't be rewarded for doing what was expected of her! (Makes me think of Confuscius's made a model of rights and responsibilities in society). The waitress had been really helpful. There were people around and watching when I did it, so I probably should have done it more discreetly, since I know that in collectivist societies you shouldn't pick out an individual in front of the others. Hope the girl didn't "lose face" afterwards vis a vis her supervisor and fellow waitresses!

Finally, before I close for the day, I'd just like to say how fascinating I find this place. It's so full of contrasts. So much consumerism and goods on the market--and such possibilities for foreign investment and business--but such controled media, long working hours for many (the gal at the travel agency at the hotel told me she works 16 hours a day with only one day off a week), poor hygenic conditions in many places, not enough safety precautions for the trillions of construction workers you see, a lot of spitting and shoving, overcrowded subways, and the list goes on.

But that's China, n'est-ce pas?


P.S. Thanks Nadine, Tom, Bernard and Eric for your comments!


At October 23, 2006 4:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At October 23, 2006 1:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeaahh mum! it's really nice to follow you throughout your blog, what an aventure!! Did you know that the Kun-Fu monks were also 'arts martiaux' masters? enjoy your trip in Xian.. hips pf kisses.. Marco


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