Experiencing China

'Experiencing China' is about ordinary life in China and the wealing and dealing of a Dutchman in the Middle Kingdom. Marc works for DuoArts Consultancy and the Empowerment Foundation, travelling between the Netherlands and China.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Going out in Beijing

Last friday I got to the airport to pick Chuang Li up. She studies at the Academy of Utrecht, The Netherlands, where she studies Marketing Communication. She will do an internship at one of the projects I am involved in. This project consists of supporting two schools in rural China.

Chuang comes from Henan province, here in China, and has been studying in the Netherlands for three years. She will do a research on how to 'translate' concepts such as empowerment, human resource management and consultancy on intercultural cooperation into the Chinese context. Because she has lived in both China and the Netherlands she should be able to bridge the two different cultures.

In front of the Forbidden City 

But, as a good host is supposed to do, I took her to all the sight seeing places in Beijing. Though it was rather strange: who was who's guest? I'm now a resident of Beijing, although temporarily, but still laowai (foreigner). She is my guest from the Netherlands, but still a Zhongguoren (Chinese). But because I like to reverse the whole game once - all the other times I have been the guest - I was happy to play the host.

A guest generally is treated with great hospitality. Hosts do their utmost best to make the stay unforgettable by taking their guests to sight seeing places, pay for the taxi and lunch and dinner and ask you many times if you are enjoying yourself and/or need a rest. I know many Dutch people feel uncomfortable in this situation. But hey, that's China!

The next day after Chuan's arrival, we played the tourist visiting Tiananmen square and taking pictures in front of the Forbidden City. Hundred of thousands of Chinese tourist have done this before. So did I, but it is always a hit!

Attending a tea ceremony with Chuang 

After Tiananmen we went shopping at Wanfujing, Beijing's most luxurious shopping place. I bought a suit, I couldn't bring it from Holland, for 30 euro and bought my guest one of the finest kind of tea in the country. We had dinner at Wanfujing's restaurant area. This is also the 'snack' area of Beijing with multiple kinds of sate. One of the most horrible snacks can be seen on the photo below. Have a nice dinner!

Having a snack 

Chuang currently is visiting the project in Shandong and taken care of by Tom, who runs the school involved. And I like the idea that I was able to repay all the hospitality I received during all my previous visits to China, including this one.


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