the santa cruz effect

Kaifeng Travel Blog

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kaifeng... first city in a new province in china and i encounter the santa cruz effect. like the city in bolivia kaifeng is showing some hope for china hehe more than in other cities so far i see efforts to modernize and teens running around styled like in the west and i saw a poster advertising a high-school exchange with the us. especially how teens dress in big cities could be quite a good indicator for which culture will "win" in one or two generations time.

kaifeng has between 4 and 5 mio population and 5000 foreign visitors each year. this is off-season meaning that there are probably about 5 of us in town. i saw 2 others. you feel like nobody notices you in your life? you want some attention? just go to one of those 'small' chinese cities and you have 10 mio eyes on you and 5 mio people going "heeeelllloooooooooooooooouuuuuwwww"

it is a nightmarket city and the market culture is gorgeous - every backalley has food, clothes and gimmick shops: colors, scents, people make it a very pleasant town to stroll around in.

and there is jason.... jason (that's his english name because his chinese name is unpronounceable) is the only one in town who speaks english and full of entrepreneurial spirit, very unchinese, he sells himself quite well with that skill. i know he does because he is mentioned in every single blog of people who end up in kaifeng. anyway, he was standing in front of my hotel this morning (not hard to catch the tourists, this one is recommended everywhere in the guidebooks) with the typical "where are you from", "do you need help" stuff and i knew instantly that was the jason i read about hehe

after i tried to get tickets and returned to my hotel he was waiting there and offered help getting the tickets, for free even. i thought why not and he translated for me in the travel agencies (only to find out that no one in the city has sleepers). i thanked him and then he got on with this memorized speech about the city's history and that he could take me to all those places in his ricksha tomorrow. selfish as i am i said my good byes but i feel a bit bad since there are not that many business opportunities coming into town at the moment :-)
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... deodorant!

as written in some guidebooks (and read 1 day too late by me...), it is a bit hard to get in china. which is wrong - it is impossible to get! sure, hong kong yes and i will probably get it in shanghai. but outside of the big cities there is no chance at all to get deodorant in whatever form or brand - it does not exit. i even searched in beijing but would have had to travel to the big shopping centers to get it.

the small corner shops and the shopping centers or supermarkets have everything: body wash, lip balm, hair coloring, moisturizer, whatever you want.. but nobody imports deodorant.

my research concluded that chinese people just don't use it because they don't smell as bad as we do... hmm... anyway, you will get more and more tourists everywhere, get that sorted or your beijing 2008 will stink! literally
photo by: alexchan