Adrift in China (Summersdale Travel)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
China is the third largest country in the world, holds nearly a quarter of the earth's population and claims a recorded history going back more than 3000 years. Foreigners' reactions to China and its people veer from one extreme to the other, as if the gargantuan size of the place demands a sweeping response. Simon Myers spent years in the Middle Kingdom trying to fathom just an inkling of China. Firstly as a Western student, still preoccupied with searching for much-missed dairy products; then as a businessman selling the capitalist icon, Coca-Cola, inaugurated to Business Drinking and losing face; and finally, independence - on the road on a Chinese motorbike and sidecar. In this work he offers an informed and personal account of China, aiming to go behind the cliches and provide a different take on life in this fascinating and frustrating country.
out of the corridor window. It had started to snow and was already dark. After sitting around in one of the Russians’ rooms (‘Ah, Dave, he is big man! Big man!’ chuckled Alexei), I returned a couple of hours later to find Dave sitting upright on his bed, reading a Chinese text and smoking. ‘Good lesson?’ I asked. ‘Yup. But a bit exhausting. Unfortunately Fanny is going to Shanghai, so we had to cram a lot into the last session.’ After the final exam, Madam Wu personally handed out the results
discouragement of lavish weddings, the old traditions of throwing a large party and letting the whole town know your son or daughter was getting married are back with a vengeance. As in former times, the cost of these weddings is prohibitive. Whereas in the past you would invite the whole village to celebrate, now you invite everyone you know. Whilst everyone is encouraged to bring little red envelopes filled with cash donations, these rarely cover the cost involved. It is a very public affair
stared down at the clear spirit gently lapping at the edges of my plate, looked at the others around the table and realised he was not joking. ‘Here in Henan we like to drink like this before we start eating.’ With a slight nod of encouragement, I was invited to take the saucer, lift it to my lips and down the fiery liquid with a loud slurp. As it burnt its way down my throat and made my eyes water with its pungent smell, I realised that my chances of getting back into my hotel room unassisted
for the unconnected or those without higher education degrees. (Only 2 per cent of people attend university in China.) In Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai, the majority of women who work in the karaoke industry come from inland secondary cities, such as Xian, Zhengzhou and Shenyang. In the secondary cities they come from smaller towns, and in the smaller towns from the countryside; a neat hierarchy of desperate ambition. With generous clients who tip, however, many can earn far more than in a more
driver. ‘Where have you come from? London?’ ‘No, Zhengzhou,’ I replied. ‘Aiya! What are you doing there?’ ‘I live there.’ ‘When are you returning?’ ‘I’m not sure.’ That weekend, while at a party in one of the foreign compounds where the Beijing government likes to corral foreign journalists and diplomats, a man walked into the room who would interrupt the unwilling rhythm of my life in Henan as low-flying corporate salesman. Amidst the chink of glass, cigarette smoke and waves of conversation, he