Sunday, May 20, 2007

Clemson Folks come to Beijing

Last week was nice because I got to see some old friends a couple of times as the annual Clemson trip passed through Beijing. Jessica's dad, Mr. Campbell, as well as Josh Lawrence and three of my professors were in the group. I went out two days and evenings with the group and had a fun time experiencing South Carolina indirectly.
This is the first night in Beijing when we went out to dinner...

It was nice to take them to my favorite street and introduce them to all the friendly shop owners that have now seen me several times. These guys own one store that we always go into. Sometimes we buy things, sometimes we don't, but we always have good laughs in Chinese and drink tea with them. This time they gave me a free Beijing Olympics hat!

The guy on the right says he likes Americans a lot because of their direct and open attitudes...but he also says that we grow up to look a lot older than we are. Oh well. You win some and lose some, right?

When we were looking for something specific, one shop owner sent me to a place called "Wa'er ma." It took me a minute to figure out that she was talking about Wal-mart and then we all had a good laugh. I hadn't been to one in Beijing, so we went on a search. The first indication we were on the right track was this jovial street sweeper!

Walking into the Wal-mart was like a breath of fresh air. Clean aisles, low prices, and a wide selection of products separated it from our typical Chinese shopping experience. Although most products were adapted to the Chinese market, the style in which they were presented was still very much the same. Josh especially enjoyed it as it was his first time out of the country and this store relieved quite a bit of culture shock from the last two weeks!

The last taste of home was a lovely cappuccino and cake back at the hotel cafe with some hours of good conversation. A very nice visit, indeed! I hope to see more of you over here in Beijing!

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