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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 questions.          

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.

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