Getting our money's worth in China

21:24, Dec 06 2012

As one of my friends accurately surmised we are experiencing culture excitement, not shock, here in Beijing.

One example is the large group of couples slow dancing in a local park at 10pm.

I am one of 28 politics students from Victoria University who are studying in Beijing for three weeks. We had our second lecture this morning, part two of Chinese foreign diplomacy.

It is fascinating to observe which parts of Chinese history were skipped over, for example, the Tiananmen Square incident in 1999. However, the lecturer did say how important it is to learn the Chinese perspective as well as the Western, thus giving us the ability to critically analyse historical events.

Each morning we have our lecture from 9am to 11am. The afternoons are usually an excursion to a local business or tourist hotspot and the nights are free time.

We spent last night exploring the Changping district of Beijing. The main highlight of that was the Engrish. Shop names were the best; one was called "Spread", another "Corn", which sold faux fur coats.

Speaking of corn, the McDonald's here sell cups of sweet corn kernels for a mere 10 yuan (around NZ$2).

Later last night the whole group met at the local "KTV", a karaoke establishment. We rented a room that was decked out with mirrors, disco lights, big televisions and plush couches, while waiters in leopard print waistcoats brought up rounds of beer. We then sang badly for three hours for NZ$9.

So far on this trip I have spent NZ$20 in two days. In this case we're getting way more than what we paid for.