The duality of China

Yesterday (Saturday) I went into the city centre to walk around and get a feel of the city, the layout and just get my bearings a bit. First thing I realised is that this city is huge. What looked like a quite short walk on the large map I had took me about 45 minutes! I got lost a couple of times but that's really the best way of getting to know a city according to me. I saw some interesting things while walking around and primarily something I would call the duality of China. What strikes you first in this city is the amount of impressive buildings. Many of them are new and more are in the finishing stages, a lot of money is being put into the infrastructure and impressive buildings because of the Asian games in November.

So, skyscrapers - check! But wandering around the large roads won't give you a view of how most people really live in the back alleys.

What's happening now though is that a lot of these packed and dirty Chinese communities are being demolished.

And transformed from the buildings on the right into the buildings on the left:

This is also affecting the way shopping is done in the packed communities in the back alleys:

The Chinese version of Clas Ohlson.

More and more of these small shops are closing and moving into the large shopping malls á la "western" style. Primarily it's clothing and jewellery stores but it does affect how people shop and I think that soon everything will be in shopping malls.

This will be the third H&M store in the city.

This is nothing new of course, we have seen the same thing back home, that more and more shopping malls are being built at the expense of stores which are not located on the main shopping street. Reading this text I realised that it might seem as if I think it's a bad thing that new and tall apartment buildings are replacing the old and dirty houses and that I think it's a shame that the small back alleys are disappearing. However, I actually think it's a good thing in most aspects. Personally I would rather live in an apartment high rise than in these back alleys, and I prefer shopping at a shopping mall than in some small and "dodgy" store. It just seems to me that most large cities will be quite alike in the future.


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