From Hong Kong to Beijing
By Margarita I. Gotay
Hong Kong’s skyscrapers were amazing and huge! There were cargo ships
everywhere and cargo boxes pilled up more than in any other country we
have visited. The coasts were full of storage warehouses, and foreign
brands were displayed in billboards on top of skyscrapers everywhere.
It was a perfect example of what Lisa Law talked about in her article,
“Defying Disappearance – Cosmopolitan Public Space in Hong Kong,” t how
planning and building histories have transformed Central’s Hong Kong
public spaces into becoming places of consumerism.
I was able to observe more foreigners and more international
restaurants than in previous ports. There was Californian Kitchens,
KFC, Mc Donald’s, Irish Bars, Cuban cigars, Vietnamese food, Thai Food,
Pizza Hot and many more. I heard music from different countries
everywhere: Spain, PR, US, and Jamaica. Hong Kong was like a cleaner
New York City. It was totally full of high fashion stores like
Christian Dior, Prada, Guicci, Burberry, Loevee, Giorgio Armani, and
Louis Vuitton had numerous outlets in the city.
It seemed that the city’s main target was consumerism. During the
weekends the malls were packed and during the week the city was full of
Indian salesmen in the streets. There wasn’t a place in Hong Kong that
you couldn’t see a store or someone selling something.
On the other hand Beijing wasn’t as impressive, or clean. The Chinese
people were welcoming to tourists because they wanted us to give them
all our money. Sellers were very insistent; they would sometimes pull
us into their shops and follow you. In comparison to the Japanese, the
Chinese from what I could observe were much more interested in America.
In the Renmin University they have the English Corner where every
Friday students go and practice their English. People from all over
Beijing and other parts of China went to this University to practice
English and talk about some American issues or news. When I went
to the English Corner with the Semester at Sea group the Chinese people
and students asked us all types of questions regarding politics, our
universities, or even just plain student life
China was full of Muslim temples, Indian tourists that insisted on
taking pictures with really friendly natives, Spanish tourists,
British, Germans, and us. The biggest group of foreigners I
saw that lived there were Indians, who could be seen all over in the
streets of Hong Kong. I noticed tin Beijing hat something they don’t
import is diapers!!! Little children had holes in their pants so they
could do their necessities through them.
In conclusion, my experience was very tourist like so I couldn’t
observe as many signs of migration as I wanted to. I experienced the
Chinese culture much more than anything else. The last day my travel
companions and I spent the whole day with a Chinese couple that took us
to a temple and dinner. It was an awesome experience; they were great
hosts and nice people. Hong Kong is a place I would return to, and the
Great Wall is an experience I will never forget.