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Erika and Jethro in China
The girls all tell each other where the latest bargains are to be found and then they line up their chauffeurs and head their cars to the kill.

Yes! Jethro and I have returned from Beijing - China land of paradox and contradiction - incredible innocence and clever trickery; absolute gentleness and dreadful cruelty; exquisite beauty and sickening ugliness; hot and cold; colour and drab, with streets lined with tubs of artificial flowers and mock grass, and dusty polluted air to breathe!

Beijing is not a people friendly environment, and so the ex-pats that get to live there and support their companies get compensated big-time with megga dollars and every luxury money can buy.
Hence the wives are rich and bored (a dangerous combination) - each family has at least one Chinese maid and always a chauffeur - so after the husband has been driven to work the driver is at their beck and call and they feed their shopping addiction by exploring the markets and shops hunting for bargains - which of course are plenty if you are into copied and fake products.

The girls all tell each other where the latest bargains are to be found and then they line up their chauffeurs and head their cars to the kill. So in Spain we have bull-fighting and in China we have market-onsloughting. The matador being the one who strikes her arrow deepest into the biggest bargain. . . quite an art, needing some good coaching by the experts.

Of course no-one speaks English, not even the taxi drivers, so you pray that the taxi gets you to the place to which you gesticulate on the page, knowing full-well that he can't read an English map anyway.

What a bubble they live in, about as far from the real world as you can get.
Jethro was absolutely fascinated by the Great Wall which truly is a monument to human endeavor and suffering. The ancientness of their history is evidenced everywhere in quite well maintained monuments to courage and persistence. Jethro and I did our fair share of traipsing up thousands of steps and walking across hundreds of acres of temple grounds and memorials. Fascinating and awe-inspiring even though tiring.

Jethro was definitely out of his comfort zone and coped well - a stretch for him which can only prove to be healthy. He hated the idea that his burger could be cat or dog meat and ate most things with suspicion We were glad to be home - the 22 hour flight was a real test to retaining a healthy attitude, but we managed and all in all it was a worthwhile trip. I am back at work and Jethro back to surfing and school, and as is the case for all of us, soon our holiday will be safely stored in the place of fond memories.


Forwarded by
email "gpaget" <
A gadget designer in Cape Town

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