Chinese Economics

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Today was the first day off I had in a week and a half, so I planned to get up, head to the train station and go and find my self of ‘real’ China.

Unfortunately, that plan was dashed by the cleaning lady at my door this morning, indicating I had slept through my alarm by two hours. I made it to the station, bought a ticket to Suzhou, but realised that it was too late to make good use of the day. As a result, I took the opportunity to see a little of Shanghai in the day time and it certainly delivered.

I have to say, this is a town to live in, not to visit. The Bund is marvellous and there are a few other interesting places to go, but it does not have the tourist attraction of Beijing. I went to check out the YeYuen gardens – the old town – and it was very nice but absolutely packed with yellow-hatted Chinese tourists following their respective yellow flags. Package tours take on a new meaning with the Chinese, and I would not be surprised to see more of these headpieces in Europe as their gather more disposable income.

I had some rather forced conversations with Chinese clearly wanting to sell me something under the pretence of learning English – a ruse I got extremely tired of. The pinnacle came when my will broke and accompanied a pair of Chinese students to a café bar for a coffee. My treat, and I didn’t really mind. I was rather shocked to find they had ordered half the menu and the most expensive Whiskeys on the menu! My heart both dropping and pounding in rage, I had to control myself, pay the bill and get the hell out. I raised a stink but this was clearly not a good idea in the particular location I had chosen. You know, I have traversed Mexico and Central America, Thailand and Taiwan, and I have maintained my street wise all the way. I have never been ripped off by more than is reasonable. But today I lost out on about 100 bloody quid, but I feel like it was a very cheap way to learn a very expensive lesson. Folk lore suggests people coming here, setting up businesses and having the investments pulled out underneath them. So. Lesson learnt. Wounds licked. And a more circumspect approach to the city of sin.

That feels better now! Now I prepare to head out one last time to meet Henry from my High School. Amazing to see him and my oldest friend in Asia. At the same time, I have lost out by days once again as my friend Gerhard (previously of Panasonic in Japan, and hailing from Germania – where else?) arrives to set up a design company on Monday (!) and Anke & Lars move their life here via India on Thursday. It seems like a bit of a German conspiracy, what with missing out on Michael & Tanja’s farewell bash last weekend!

Shower and change. A wiser man steps out into the night.


Bamboo sticks out into the street, providing drying space for clothes. Just thread them on and poke ‘em out!


The pond at YuYuen gardens – the ‘Old City’


A door


A phone recharging machine on Nanjing Street. Maybe I am the only one that found it interesting.


The animation exhibition in MOCA – The Museum of Contemporary Art – in People’s Square.


Spinning LED installation – quite cool – reminded me of a guy from my old time at ideo in London


Bruce Lee Fried Chicken. I’m Not Joking. Actually they take his Chinese name ‘Lee Xiao Long’, or ‘Little Dragon’ Lee

2 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    Posted 2009/04/21 at 09:04 | Permalink

    you lived my dream thats unfair.
    im colombian youre british thats unfair?

  2. Posted 2009/04/21 at 21:34 | Permalink

    How do you mean?

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