I'm going to China in a couple of weeks. I'll start out vacationing in Beijing for a couple of days and then I'll be working in Shanghai for just over a week. I have very mixed feelings about this trip but they are mostly good. I'm positive I'll be experience something extraordinary. A country I've never been to, customs I've never experienced first hand before and challenges I'm meeting for the first time. I'll be eating well, smiling lots, and hopefully laughing as well, walking and meeting a ton of people. I'll be speaking English. What's there not to like?
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Our vacation plans for Beijing are still hazy. We don't know where to stay. We don't really know what to do. I'm interested in going to the Chinese Wall and spend the night sleeping on it. Like this. I'm not fooling myself; I know it'd mean lousy sleeping and a sooooore body after walking/climbing the wall for hours and hours, but wouldn't it be unforgettable? We'll be visiting the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. And probably do some shopping.
But you know what? This is where it gets tricky for me. When I was given the chance to spend time in China my head was filled with images of buildings, people, food, trees, walls and whatever. I didn't think shopping. But as soon as I started telling people I was going to China I was drowned in tips on what to buy. And how much money to bring. And how much space I should leave empty in my suitcase going there. And to be honest, I find it kind of disturbing.
I'm not one to advocate for consumerism. I'm not extreme in my beliefs, but I try not to buy too much stuff that I don't really need. I do it for environmental and political reasons. Now, people seem to expect me to become this shopping monster just because I'm going to a country where I can buy things cheaply. I believe in copy right. I don't download songs, movies or tv show episodes that I haven't paid for. And now people expect me to buy plagiarized jackets, jeans, watches, glasses, movies and shoes. And not just a pair or two, but enough to fill a suitcase. It disturbs me a bit.
I will do some shopping while there. And I probably will buy some things that are plagiarized. But I don't see myself becoming this shopping monster that they expect me to become, leaving all my principals behind. Even though I'm going to China.
I see myself taking tons and tons of pictures. I see myself buying silk fabrics. And I see myself trying to get a dress or shirt custom made by a seamstress. I see myself looking at fake Canada Goose-jackets, Diesel jeans and Rolex watches. But I don't see myself buying them. Even though I'd have room for them in my suitcase.