Wednesday, March 28, 2007

China "Lite"

One Month down here in Dalian, China.

Dalian was recommended to me by a friend of a friend as a good place to get my feet wet in China. I arrived in late February when there were still Spring Festival fireworks every morning at 8:00 AM.

Some foreigners refer to Dalian as "China Lite." That is, it's not too crowded, it's generally clean, and the air is decently clean. It also has many of the comforts to which we we westerners in developed countries have come to enjoy.

There is an astonishing amount of English written everywhere in this City. It is almost disappointing (but helpful none-the less). You can find peanut-butter, olive-oil and apparently cheddar cheese, although I have yet to find it! You can find all the designer brands from Coach to Armani (I mean authentic, not rip offs, although you can find those too). There are coffee shops, bakeries, Tapas restaurants, and even a decently authentic looking Irish pub! Clothing stores in general have a much wider selection than in the US. Options seem endless here in this phase of consumerism. However, when you do the math, many of these things come out to be US prices or higher.
All of these luxuries do not however make this place feel like home in anyway. This culture is still foreign despite the affluence that manifests itself through association with western goods and trends that may seem familiar. China is still a deeply rooted Eastern culture despite any western flare on the surface.

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