Chinese time machine #2

The other day, as I was riding in a taxi, it occurred to me that in some ways, Beijing is like Tokyo (modern, bustling, Asian) crossed with Los Angeles (sprawling, wealthy). One thing that sets Tokyo apart from both of the others is the ubiquitous public transportation system. LA has little of that, comparatively speaking, and Beijing is rapidly trying to catch up, constructing new subway/train lines and modernizing the buses. All three are centers of their countries’ entertainment industries. I’m sure the comparison breaks down if you examine it much more than that, since in truth Beijing is just Beijing, just as Tokyo is Tokyo and LA is LA.

I recently had the opportunity to spend some time talking to someone who lives in Shanghai, and she said that in spite of all the English and Russian and whatnot you see written around Beijing, and all the foreigners you see, Beijing is still much more Chinese than Shanghai is. Shanghai, as a seaport and center of trade, has had non-Chinese influences for much longer than Beijing. And Shanghai is in fact famous for a street called The Bund – how Chinese is that?
Since I had such good responses from the Bimbo Bread post a while ago, here is another amusing Chinese bread bag. What do you suppose “USA Style” bread would be like?
It’s a bit like Wonder Bread, only has a slight yellow tinge, allegedly from all the butter. I’m sure cowboys made it that way.
There are Starbucks all around the world, but this one in Beijing has décor you would not see in Seattle.
And now we’re setting the controls for 23 February, during the Spring Festival. Here’s a picture from the Baiyunguan Temple that didn’t make the original post. How’s this for a contrast between tradition and modern life?
Later that same day, I came across this sight in the hallway on the fifth floor of a luxury apartment complex, outside the K/JW door. I’m guessing there’s a spoiled kid living very nearby.
This establishment is not far from where I live. Coffee, tea, pastries, and sandwiches are advertised – I haven’t been in yet, though I can surely imagine a day where I’m desperate enough for coffee to wander in.

Wasn’t that fun? We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

1 comment:

  1. such interesting observations from you!