Posted by: Megan | September 13, 2007

“Difference Doesn’t = Wrong!”

I’m sorry for my lack of appearance on the blog of late – post China
recovery takes time, you know! I’m actually on ‘blog leave’ – if there is
such a thing? Until my return in the Melbourne office (mid October) my posts
will be random ….

Ah China, what an experience that was – being back there!

When I travel outside of Australia I’m all for being open minded, and
adopting the motto; “difference doesn’t = wrong”, however … at times …
it is bloody hard – I have to admit!

Simply going shopping in China was probably one of the big “differences” I had to get use to! Until Beijing I had decided not to worry about purchasing anything as knew I had ample time at the end of the trip in Beijing to get myself a new summer wardrobe – that way not having to carry any of it prior hand.

On one of the mornings after the trip had ended I met my friend Cindy at Yashow Market (Beijing) – for what I had hoped to be a successful purchasing event. I arrived early, and while waiting for her, decided to have a sneak preview at what was on offer. The “sneak preview” though came at a cost of its’ own ….

“Watchie ! Watchie ! Looka! Looka ! Beautiful watchie ! Cheep ! Cheep! .
Looka ! Looka! Cheep! Cheep! Give you good Plice ! For you, my best
fliend, I give you vely special plice! 500 kuai !”

And this is what was simply said to me in passing (or trying to) the watch
area to the next – only to hear the same about shoes (“Lady Lady you wanta
shoes …”) to clothing (almost dressed upon you if you don’t walk past quick
enough) to EVERYTHING the market sells, really!

But that’s the fun of markets in places like China, the whole bargaining,
the whole “difference” factor – although it becomes wearing … and if truth
be known … wore me out to the point I just could not be bothered to “looka
looka” …. the summer wardrobe will have to wait …. 🙂 Like I said
though – that’s the experience of being in a market – somewhere like China.

I did somewhat struggle, however, with trying again for that summer wardrobe
in an actual shopping mal in Beijing after the market experience – thinking the experience may be a little more relaxing. Relaxing? As an Australian, I can best equate this shopping experience to blow flies on the back of a hot and sweaty back, needing a can of aeroguard sprayed good and hard! Every time I went into any shop – be it
a bakery ( I know I know … the dumplings are great but after a while …)
or a clothing shop the shop assistants would hover over me like a pesky fly …
seriously “different” … and seriously something I had to keep reminding
myself that is was not “wrong” every time I took a step I had someone not only
just next to me, but almost on me, as I looked at the goods!

Now when I was actually in Beijing last week, I had thought about blogging
this then and there, however, reluctant as not to seem negative about the experiences
– and honestly – I am, like I said open minded and see the humour and
difference in western vs eastern equation of doing things! When I received
an email though from one of my passengers on the China trip, Felicity
Glennie-Holmes, who went onto Japan after the trip, I could not help
re-think blogging the whole shopping experience in Beijing as … what
Felicity has written just (to me) hits the nail perfectly on the head as to how “difference doesn’t = wrong” thing – every country has it’s own way!

Now, I am rather biased here, having lived in Japan for several years and
just loved it – and why I loved so much what Felicity wrote:

“But the best thing about Japan was the customer service, it was such a
plesant change after China.

Kind of like this:

Oh, thank you so much for coming into our shop. Thank you so, so much.
Please, accept our thanks, please do, accept them, oh yes, even though you
have only looked around and fingered our merchandise without purchasing
anything. We are truly honoured that you have merely window-shopped. I am
not worthy of the time you have spent wasting with me here in this moment.
I am bowing low in order to abase myself before you, and raise you above
my own self. Here, I am bowing even lower, and I will bow again and again
and again as you exit the store embarrassedly, and I will cherish the
memory of our time together and hope that you wil one day return to bestow
us with the shining light of your foreign glory once more.


I am now hanging out in Venice Beach, California. While western life here
does not provide me with the hilarity I adore about travelling in the likes
of Asia, I am all the same loving the refreshing change in everything (my
god the weather is amazing here) before I head off on my cycle Morocco trip
(with Intrepid Travel) on the weekend – I am not leading it though … that
could end in disaster if I did ;)!!!

Until soon again,
Megan 🙂

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  1. Glad you enjoyed your trip, will plan on a trip to Asia soon as well. 🙂

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