Animated Animals: Research and observation in the reservate

Besides pets, there is another group of animals where it is unavoidable that they learn how to talk: in zoos, reservates or captivity. A visit to the famous tiger reservate is very different now. This is one of the few places where you are actually allowed to converse with animals directly, albeit at a safe distance. Since this is a place where you can ‘feed’ the animals by choosing to purchase a certain type of prey, this requires a negotiation with the tigers. At the entrance, the sign with disclaimers is updated to contain a few new things: We try…

Please take my picture

I gladly tried to forget that this past weekend was International Children’s Day. On the one hand, it is because I am not a fan of children and kids. On the other hand, even though China is an aging society, somehow all these kids pop up out of nowhere during the weekends. What amazes me a lot, is how many pictures are taken of kids. I know in the Netherlands, most kids, I think boys and girls almost equally but for different reasons, do not like to have photos taken. Boys often find it takes too long, they might make…

Waiting for a rainy day

Rain brings out something fascinating. Suddenly, the streets are filled with even more colors than usual, everyone has some sort of protection which ranges from the practical, umbrellas, to the ridiculous, plastic shoe covers. It rains a lot in Shanghai. I am sort of used to a lot of rain from living in the Netherlands, but that does not make it any more fun most of the time. However, some things make the situation different here. I do not really bike with an umbrella here, mostly because it is a lot busier and chaotic on the roads. The biking skills…

Pushing and pulling, but no punches

This morning, I read an article about the bleak reality of gang violence in Latin-America. Yeah, the best way to start off your Sunday for sure. But it did make me think, there is not that much fighting in China, normally. Of course, certain exceptions exist (a few months ago I experienced one myself) however, physical fighting is just not very common on the streets. Sure, people always tell me that Chinese sound like they are constantly angry at each other, but that is just the ‘beauty’ of Chinese and the fact that most people do not feel the need…

In or out of touch with nature?

Today, the weather is great. Blue skies, sun shining, slight breeze, clouds drifting, clean air. About as perfect a day you can get in China, which means everyone is on the move of course. That is perfectly understandable, possible even desirable. There is limited room for outdoors activities on a daily basis and having other people in the park besides the elderly is a nice change of scenery. The park is most probably the closest to nature that most Chinese get. Camping is not a very common way of traveling around, forests are mostly limited to national parks and most…

Stellar sales techniques

I am no sales person. To be honest, I did some minor sales-involved tasks during my (side) jobs and they all gave me anxiety. The fact that I do not have any talent for bluffing does not help either. That does not mean I cannot recognize good from bad sales though. China, for all its lack of service does have a very well-developed sales culture. Up ’till a certain point. Realtor employees try to hand you out flyers for any overpriced apartments they sell on any corner of the street. Enter a shopping mall and you are sure to be…

Tourists with Chinese characteristics: golden groupies

It is spring and that only means 1 thing in China: flowers. Preferably cherry blossoms. Having spent my past weekend in one of the busiest places I could find to marvel at this wonder of nature, reminded me again of this kind of tourist. Who?Aunties and uncles, grannies and grandpas of around 45-50 and up. They almost exclusively travel together in large groups (25-35 people) because their children are busy (unless they belong to the fanatic families) and they can see highlights of 4 places in 4 days. Where?Anywhere that is only slightly famous is bound to be flooded by…