Crownies – Season 1 – Part 2 – 3-DVD Set ( Crownies – Season One – Part Two ) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.0 Import – Australia ]
By Lewis Fitz-Gerald, Todd Lasance, Hamish Michael, Ella Scott Lynch, Andrea Demetriades
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China is amazing. For starters, there is the sheer scale – such a large country and so many people. There is an apparent “can do” attitude of most people that is manifested in the constant development  and bustle going on.

I was in Beijing for a few days last week, and, in the beautiful autumn weather, it was lovely. On a macro scale, the urban areas are covered in grey concrete, but, at human level, there is a vibrant activity that is reminiscent of village life. My hotel was across the street from the school in which I was delivering a workshop. It was in a rented part of a Chinese government school, in one of the innumerable residential areas in Chinese cities. They are all almost self-contained, with a park, shops and schools to service the locals (although beauty parlors seem to be in oversupply).

The parks are great, even if they tend to be covered in gravel. Each morning and afternoon, people are out exercising, particularly the elderly. Activities range from Tai Chi, to walking, jogging and using the free exercise equipment. In the afternoons, the babies are trotted out by their grannies, and induced to publicly urinate to a whistle. (I wonder if whistling around Chinese adults could cause a Pavlov-type response?)

Chinese markets are great, but are not for the faint-hearted. My hosts revealed that they were not very keen about bargaining. At the Yashow clothing market, the stall holders seemed quite aggressive, but it is actually a game. One young man berated me for playing it too quickly after I ended up paying 10% of the initial price. (And I was still probably ripped off.) Some people cannot handle the physical contact, but seems more for effect than anything, and a polite “Please don’t touch me” suffices. The amount and variety of goods is almost overwhelming, and, although there is a lot of rubbish, there is a lot of quality merchandise at low prices.

I wasn’t prepared for the quality of the restaurants. We had dinner in the San Li Tun area, and there were dozens of excellent places to eat, many of them reached via walkways between modern multi-storey towers. The locals tended to be affluent, attractive young men and women, very confident and cosmopolitan. The restaurants, by Asian standards, are not cheap, so their is obviously a very affluent middle class emerging.

This trip, I had little time to sight see, but I hope to be back.


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