Saturday, December 4, 2010

Asian Impressions

pictures here - fotos aquí

I just came back two days ago from a long trip to Asia for work - visiting suppliers and all that - which took us not only to Hong Kong and Hangzhou where I had already been, but also to Korea, in spite of the alarming news we were assured it was completely safe: the usual fighting about their borders and a bit of a media hype, it seems. In any case everybody in Seoul seemed unconcerned, but you never know with Asians...

Ah, yes, stereotypes, don't we all fall in the same trap? For us the East is mysterious and at first glance everything (and let's be frank, everybody) looks kind of the same, but you just need to pay a little attention for this veil of uniformity to fall off. Of course there are cultural differences that make understanding sometimes difficult, even with the people we know quite well, like our Asian colleagues from our Hong Kong office, but it's just as difficult for them to deal with us.

And obviously every place you visit is different (the people, the food, the cities). Hong Kong is perhaps the most easy to grasp because the British have been there for so long and so many foreigners live there. Hangzhou, in China, shocked me the most, it's a pretty drab industrial city for all I have seen (but I've probably missed the "real" Hangzhou), and the stark contrast between the "new" China of luxury cars and Chanel stores (literally) next to maimed and disfigured beggars is very hard.

And I had never been before in Seoul, and it seemed very interesting, though we stayed three days. Very modern, dynamic, and we were lucky one day to finish our meetings earlier than scheduled and quickly visit the Changdeokgung Palace and the Myeong-Dong shopping district. Koreans seemed at first a bit more serious than the Chinese, but in the end, when communication flows, we are all the same: some friendly, some touchy, some with a sense of humor, some shy. I think that's what I like most about traveling: getting to know the people.



Acabo de volver hace dos días de un largo viaje por Asia por trabajo - visitando a proveedores y tal - que nos llevó no solo a Hong Kong y Hangzhou donde ya había estado, sino también a Corea, a pesar de las noticias nos dijeron que era completamente seguro: las peleas usuales sobre sus fronteras y noticias algo exageradas, parece ser. En todo caso todo el mundo en Seúl parecía muy tranquilo, pero con los asiáticos no se sabe...

Ah, sí, estereotipos, ¿no caemos todos en la misma trampa? Para nosotros el Oriente es misterioso y a primera vista todo (y seamos sincero, todos) parece igual, pero solo hay que fijarse un poco para que caiga este velo de uniformidad. Claro que hay diferencias culturales que hacen la comunicación a veces difícil, incluso con gente que conocemos bastante, como nuestros compañeros asiáticos de la oficina de Hong Kong, pero es igual de difícil para ellos entendernos a nosotros.

Y obviamente casa sitio que se visita es distinto (la gente, la comida, las ciudades). Hong Kong es tal vez la más fácil de asimilar ya que los británicos has estado allí tanto tiempo y viven muchos extranjeros. Hangzhou, en China, es la que más me impresiona, por lo que he visto parece una ciudad industrial y triste (aunque probablemente no he visto el Hangzhou "verdadero"), y el extremo contraste entre la "nueva" China de coches de lujo y tiendas de Chanel (literalmente) al lado de mendigos mutilados y desfigurados es muy duro.

Y nunca había estado en Seúl, y me pareció muy interesante, aunque sólo estuvimos tres días. Muy moderno, dinámico, y tuvimos la suerte un día de terminar nuestras visitas antes de lo previsto y visitar rápidamente el Palacio de Changdeokgung y la zona de shopping de Myeong-Dong. Los coreanos parecían a primera vista más serios que los chinos, pero al final, cuando fluye la comunicación, somos todos iguales: algunos simpáticos, algunos susceptibles, algunos con sentido del humor, algunos tímidos. Creo que es lo que más me gusta de viajar: llegar a conocer a la gente.

13 comments:

gratis total said...

que gran post! estoy deseando visitar Asia, es mi asignatura pendiente

ladybug said...

Congratulations Pilgrim, you did it again, took us on a trip to Asia and showed us the details, thanks, really enjoy your blog!

Bluess Swing said...

Siempre tus posts de viajes de trabajo me dejan ese sabor agridulce...como si te hubiera faltado ese toque de alegría o quizás un poco más de tiempo para perderte y descubrir lo que no se ve a siemple vista.

Di said...

El glamour de tus trolls y su afición a la realeza me deja asombrada.
El post maravilloso como siempre.

Alegria said...

Ale those are amazing pictures! and very well arranged

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