Judging by the look of billboards, magazine covers and other images that pummel you on the streets (between dodging cars, bikes carts and anything else with a horn) you might get the impression you are not in China but in the U.S. with a lot of odd type-style choices. The faces of non-Asians fill the downtown vistas. Along one city block in Beijing, of the eight massive billboards for a variety of trendy fashions, only one model had a slight resemblance to being Asian. Magazine covers (with many Western titles including Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan…) reveal the same sort of look. If you wanted to avoid Chinese culture and cuisine during a trip here, it wouldn’t be too hard, as a group just left for the nearby Starbucks. They have Wal-Mart and Buicks, Pizza Hut and the Disney Store, and the king of them all – KFC. I’m told going to a KFC is a special treat – a sort of date night place. They are easy to find (I spotted one across the street from another in Beijing and plenty here in Shangai) and I worry about this country’s cholesterol levels.
Then again, I could go for some fries…
At the University they are doing a lot of renovation (as the entire city looks massive construction site), but are thoughtful enough to post a banner, running about 100 meters, along the site.