Saturday, September 22, 2007

Five Things Americans and Chinese Share Fondness For

1) McDonalds: every time we pass one of the many Mickey D restaurants scattered around this city, we can’t help but notice how crowded they are. The regional differences are pretty interesting too, the burgers and fries are the same, but the milkshakes have been replaced by those crazy jell-o teas favored here and the pickles are just raw cucumbers. “It’s the little differences. You know what they call a quarter pounder in France? A Royale with cheese.”

2) Coke/Pepsi: are readily available everywhere, though Diet Coke hasn’t quite caught on yet. (My prediction: it will be soon enough, if they keep adopting American junk food)

3) Basketball: thanks to Yao Ming and Shen Zhen’s own Yi Jianlian, basketball is quickly attracting a following in the China. The security guard in our building speaks very little English, but when he sees us he always gives us a big smile and an enthusiastic double thumbs up and says “Hello, Hello! Yao Ming, Yao Ming! Basketball!”

4) Amusement Parks: it appears that many Chinese share the sentiments of the estimated seventy percent of Americans who don’t have passports: Why do you have to leave home to see the wonders of the world? We spent a very surreal day while Daddy G was here wandering through Window to the World. It is a massive tourist attraction in Shenzhen. It boasts scale models of many of the great landmarks around the world, including St. Peter’s Basilica, the Arc De Triomphe, The pyramids, an indoor ski hill and skating rink, and most impressively, a mammoth replica of the Eiffel Tower, decorated year round with a twinkling Christmas tree. (If you don’t celebrate Christmas in the first place, who cares whether or not it’s the proper time of year?)

5) Shopping Malls; this city is awash in temples to the gods of commerce, always crowded with Chinese people eager to spend money on anything and everything. The malls themselves run the gamut from high end luxury brands to piles of cheap plastic junk, but the crowd density is consistent in both places. The class system is alive and well in this People’s Republic.

1 comment:

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