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business, eva romero's travel blog, on the street, society & culture »

[ By | 20 Jun 2009 | No Comment ]
The fine art of haggling: How to avoid getting ripped off in Xi’an

“You are supposed to help me because we are both Chinese,” an angry shopkeeper told Xia Wengian, a local man helping a visiting American student bargain for a piece of jewelry. The seller’s tone and facial expression made it clear that she felt Xia was interfering with her business.

Aside from its concentrated minority population, Xi’an’s vibrant Muslim Quarter is a tourist district where store and stall owners are known for their ferocious haggling techniques. On any given day. . . .

natalia ciolko's travel blog, on the street, society & culture »

[ By | 20 Jun 2009 | No Comment ]

After adding another giant circular weight to the buckling barbell, Zhao Ruixun crawls under the load, grunting in anticipation of the lift. “That’s 290 [kilograms],” said his trainer, Zhi Shouan, owner of the Zhi Shouan Boxing Club in Xi’an. “But 320 is his max.”

After producing five halting squats, Zhao shakes out the strain and sprints down the length of the gym, sweat flying off of his body in a fine mist. Coming to a stop before a streaky mirror, he pumps his fist in the air, shouting as his peers from the world of amateur boxing continue bobbing and weaving behind him.

Zhao works in hope of a boxing career, which would theoretically support him and his family with prize winnings. However, most sports in China, especially boxing, are not commercial, let alone profitable at this point.

“There is no history in the commerce of sports or even amateurism for the sake of recreation in China,” said Maggie Rauch, editor of China Sports Today. “Instead, it’s existed primarily as a piece of China’s state sports machine, with a focus on Olympic and other international competitions.”

mike melanson's travel blog, on the street, society & culture »

[ By | 20 Jun 2009 | No Comment ]
Xi’an: Into the incandescent future

“History,” said the young Chinese man seated at the table next to me in one of Xi’an’s Starbucks, when I asked him for his thoughts on the most important aspect of the old capital city. “Xi’an is very old.”

But while citizens pay lip service to the past, it appears that Xi’an, a bustling city of over 8 million and growing, is more than anything a place that appears intent on hurtling itself into an incandescent future without casting many lingering backward glances. My conversational partner was a case in point. . . .

kelly west's travel blog, on the street, society & culture »

[ By | 19 Jun 2009 | No Comment ]
The Tea Man made whole

My family arrives today!” said Ye Huabin, as he served customers at his gourmet tea shop behind Beijing’s Forbidden City. As he talked about his wife and two children who were traveling by train from Fujian Province southeastern China, Ye poured steaming cups of fragrant tea with the dexterity of a shell-game artist.

It’s been a year since a UT student introduced Ye’s story to our Reporting China audience – his entrepreneur’s zeal for selling upscale teas to the city’s nouveau riche as well as his painful decision to trek from his home in southeastern China. . . .

kelly west's travel blog, multimedia, on the street, society & culture, sound slides, video »

[ By | 13 Jun 2009 | No Comment ]
Slacklining: Achieving a balance in Beijing –      for fun, exercise and existential delight

And you thought walking a tightrope was hard. The sport of slacklining developed in the 1980s in the United States and is gaining popularity around the world. It has been slow to catch on in China, however, a country not known for freedom of expression or citizens trying their hand – or feet – at out-of-the-ordinary sports. But at least one Beijinger, Rio Zhang, is trying it out, and he talks about his experience with this extreme pastime.
Says Zhang: “I think when you try to balance your body, it helps to balance your mind.”

business, liang shi's travel blog, on the street »

[ By | 13 Jun 2009 | One Comment ]
The two sides of a crêpe

At the intersection of Di’anmen East Street and Di’anmen Inner Street stands a small crêperie no bigger than your average walk-in closet. Crammed inside, is a multinational and multicultural conglomerate owned by two people who couldn’t be more different.

Harbin native Cai Wen Bo, 23, is an aspiring musician who made a living traveling around China wherever he could find work. His most recent job ended after a disagreement with his boss, which lead him to vow to never work to please someone else again.

eva romero's travel blog, on the street, society & culture »

[ By | 13 Jun 2009 | One Comment ]
To eat or not to eat: The problem with man’s best friend

“Do they really eat dog over there?” is a question many friends and family have asked me about China.

I wanted to find out for myself as well, since, according published reports, hosting last year’s Summer Olympics led authorities to mandate that 112 Beijing restaurants remove dog meat from their menus. Now a year later, I discovered that the consumption of dog meat is not as popular as stereotypes would have led me to believe. In fact, Beijingers have become enthusiastic dog owners. Ordinary citizens walk their toy poodles. . . .

on the street, rebecca persons' travel blog, society & culture »

[ By | 13 Jun 2009 | No Comment ]
Poppin’, lockin’ and breakin’ expands its turf in China

Imagine a swimming pool filled with snakes gliding through the water, suddenly shocked by an electric jolt that contorts their bodies. This is how Beijing hip-hop instructor, Hero Cheng, describes the Korean-style street dancing that he teaches in Beijing.

Cheng’s former instructor actually placed snakes in a pool and zapped them to inspire new dance moves. Along with the Los Angeles styles of street dance, Cheng’s method is the prime influence shaping the street and hip-hop dance scene in China today. . . .

alice ju's travel blog, featured, multimedia, on the street, society & culture, video »

[ By | 13 Jun 2009 | One Comment ]
Beijing gets its groove on

Zhong Guan Cun Square is the place where Beijingers come to dance, roller-blade, or just people-watch, all to vibrant new urban rhythms. Whether people are working to perfect their moves or simply being adventurous and taking a tumble in stride, they suggest exuberant new lifestyles that were absence in China not all that many years ago. And whether line dancing or boldly ballroom, the citizens of Beijing now makes their picks strictly according to personal preference – and to help reduce the stresses and strains of big city life.

business, dawn jones-garcia's travel blog, on the street »

[ By | 8 Jun 2009 | No Comment ]
An entrepreneurial ocean view in the heart of landlocked Beijing

I’ve been in Beijing for less than a week, but already I have a favorite place to sit and watch the world go by: Jin Hai Restaurant, just outside the old neighborhoods in the original city. My Chinese vocabulary doesn’t stretch far beyond “ni hao” (hello) and “xie xie” (thank you), but my translator explained that Jin means “landscape” and Hai means “ocean”.
And here, on any given day, you can sit on the patio and observe waves of sweaty blue uniformed workers, gossiping grandmothers and egg-delivering scooters pass by, as this fishing net of a restaurant lures neighborhood denizens and visitors alike to its plastic patio furniture and the sound of hearty greetings from owners Ho Pin and Ho Kon.
The Ho brothers epitomize a changing China, a nation in which capitalism has taken hold and the entrepreneurial spirit is alive. . . .