What I Learned in Beijing is…

What I learned in Beijing is….

In comparison to Shanghai, Beijing is bland and boring. Although I appreciated the opportunity to explore and experience the magnificent historical sites and absorb the grandeur of the environment, it lacked a certain flavor (apparently) unique to the sexy-spicy city of Shanghai. As Justin and I discussed during the trip, Beijing is to Shanghai has New York is to Washington D.C. While Washington D.C. is the capital of the nation, holding an abundance of history, it like Beijing, doesn’t compare for most young urbanites.

Undeniably, my opinion may be bias. For over two months, I’ve learned to love Shanghai and assimilate to the different cultural demands. While the first week baffled me a little, admittedly requiring a little adjustment, I soon (re-) became a feign for the fast-paced, city life offered by true cosmopolitan centers such as Shanghai. Nevertheless there are cost-benefits to this differentiation. Even Eric, our tour guide for Beijing even admitted that while he loves Shanghai, Beijing is much more civilized and orderly. But with that order costs the fun and excitement. The number one indicator of this lack of fun is the deficiency of Beijing’s shopping culture. While it may exist, consumerism is not the forefront of Beijing’s identity. The sheer fact that I did not purchase anything on  one-week trip says it all.

I am not saying that a city’s “cool factor” is relative to its ability to provide high-fashion and glossy advertisements so young urbanites like myself can sustain our shopping addiction. However, I am willing to bet my response to Beijing is reflective of the cultural change in value of historical artifacts to young people everywhere.

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