C-Money is in China on bitness and sent this bitch the following guest post....which she will have to read via some sort of internet-based manipulation since this bitch's blog is banned in China.
Anyhoo, here's C-Money's guest post...
Hello from Beijing Church of Bitchitude! This is C-Money sending greetings from far, far away. I’m in China on business. And I’m squeezing in some R&R as well, mostly in the form of rest, room service and shopping.
The first thing that struck me about China is how Western it is relative to my expectations. And how foreign it is in other ways. Take the food for instance. I love Chinese food … but this ain’t no ghetto rice and General Gao’s y’all. Congee (soft rice porridge with meat on top) for breakfast? Double boiled shark’s fin in brown sauce or braised abalone with fish maw or fried pigeon for dinner anyone? I’m sure this is all delicious, but I’ve been totally lame and tame, eating a lot of salmon and desserts while watching CNN scare the shit out of everyone about “made in China.” Interestingly, saw a scary story in the paper here about food from USA. Food safety dissing has gone global. And so has the yoga trend – it’s big here. And fast food is proliferating. KFC and Pizza Hut and Starbucks are everywhere. At Starbucks you can get “moon cake” … traditional yummy for this time of year … I haven’t sampled it yet as I’m still into mango pudding and green tea cake, two local yummies I’m into.
China is much more open than you’d think from the news and speeches we hear in America. The one thing that is not overblown are reports about air pollution. I’ve found it hard to breathe at times and you can literally taste the air. If I’m out in it too long I get dizzy and tired. The air mixed with the 90 degree heat makes for limited excursions. It’s hard to tell how much is standard air pollution and how much is due to construction. They are building like crazy, getting ready for the Olympics and very proud to welcome the world next summer. I’m sure they’ll run the dust buster and make sure it’s all shiny by this time next year. Hospitality absolutely translates and the hospitality is lovely. Very impressive how much absolutely everyone is on it, like the whole place is in a dress rehearsal for the big event.
As those who know me well can attest, I’m kind of like Mr. Magoo, nearsighted and befuddled when I’m about town. I kinda screwed up the “when” part of getting from Shanghai to Beijing … it got sorted at the Air China desk when she pointed out I was there a day late. Shark-Fu didn’t think that story was so funny … methinks I worried her (Shark-fu's response - she fucking did...damnit...my nerves are already bad!) … I thought it was hysterical that I didn’t know what day I was supposed to go. Anyway, clear on the date now. Have calendar. All better now.
Shanghai was like Paris and New York shaken, not stirred. I went round to touch all of the latest leather goods in all the flashiest, bling-bling boutiques. And I had a full-on religious experience in the house of Chloe. I really can’t get into it here. It was beautiful … hot-hot-hot … on sale … tres chic … c’est bon … better than sex. Bye-bye Shanghai.
I’m a delicate flower and was strongly considering ordering room service all day and reading Harry Potter. But today’s a day off and I wasn’t able to do anything on Sunday because I was in bed sick all day. So I was determined to head out and do something today. See something of Beijing. But what? Imperial City and Tiananmen Square were out due to the haze and walking and trying to breathe in the haze. I breathed outside on Saturday in Shanghai and it took two days to recover. My interpreter told me that I could rest at Starbucks, but then someone else said that they closed the Starbucks in the Imperial City. While I find the sight of a Starbucks abroad comforting, I tend to agree with the people’s cultural head-people-in-charge that a Starbucks in the Imperial City is a bit much. I loved Bertolluci’s The Last Emperor, so the possibility of venturing to the Summer Palace was also considered as there are more inside bits (I think) … but the weather was too much to hazard in the end. The Great Wall is an all day thing and, um, it’s outside too … so … nothing left to do but go to the mall/market/whatever!
But I shamelessly shopped every bling label imaginable (with the exception of Gaultier because he was out of the way) when I was in Shanghai. In Beijing with only a few more days in country, seems like I should get something meaningful if I was going to skip Harry Potter and breathe in God-knows-what. A bauble that screams China and would be worth screwing up some courage to go out, get lost, get found, bargain, etc. (When shopping in Beijing you have to bargain. I am not a fan of bargaining. It’s tiring.) Anyway, I recalled Coco Chanel’s love of pearls and thought a strand would be a lovely French affectation by way of Beijing authenticity to go with my new Chloe bag from Shanghai. Plus I think Shark-Fu said “I like pearls” in the middle of telling me to pack Sudafed and copies of my passport and not to be stupid and not to get arrested. Settled then. Pearls. A nice pick-me-up for Shark-Fu after the gas theft incident and dog-sitting Schweeting and of course missing me terribly (wink). And some for me too so we can go out and have lunch when we’re old, tisking and clutching our pearls in horror at the doings of young people. I had a mission now. Go forth and do, find the pearl place I read about online and bargain for Shark-Fu’s new necklace. Something clutchable…
I went to Ling Ling on the 4th Floor of the Pearl Market (Hong Qiao) near the Temple of Heaven and had a lovely time. I watched them tie knots and then finish up my baby sister’s necklace with the wave of a lighter. I’m so proud of my little journey out. In going out in search of pearls I got to see more of Beijing via car, pick my way across a highway (less treacherous than Shanghai), dodge panhandlers, weave through an OVERWHELMING number of stalls (photography seemed verboten, so I didn’t try) with piles and piles of jewelry and people out being people, escalating up until I got to the diva floors, wandering in search of the store, putting my cram session to use comparing roundness and luster, deciding on length and chugging water, waiting for hand production which is really interesting to see, and then getting out of the market and into the back of a cab taking advantage of tourists, back into the tranquility of the hotel.
Love and kisses. I’ll check your blog out via China Mobile, the only way to get to this site. You’re … um … blocked in China. But I’m glad I found a way to read you … it’s strangely comforting … kinda like being cussed out for calling at 6 a.m. I miss ya! And if I hear the Malaysia Truly Asia jingle one more time I’m going to lose it. Korea Sparkling is right behind it on my “enough already!” list.