Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

China, The Bookworm and Typical Chinese

Posted by w_thames_the_d on March 27, 2011


I went to the bookworm today and if you’ve never been but like books, then you should give it a shot. The selection is decent and less costly than that foreign language place on Wangfujing. For instance, the Stieg Larsson trilogy is about 30 rmb less than it is in the other area. In addition, the manager will (allegedly) order books that the chicoms prohibit, so its definitely worth a look. The store is on nan Sanlitun by a large parking lot.
Anyway, I thought i would share some of my observations about the place and living in China.
Here is a stream of consciousness about the Bookworm and what I saw today.

Thirty-something Chinese cozying up in the corner, ordering the cheapest item on the menu then discreetly noshing on tasty treats stuffed into the farthest recesses of their four year old daughters hello Kitty backpack. Mother prancing around in those cheap sneakers and plain denim pants they all wear as the daughters father counsels her on how to pronounce ‘book’ all the while calling it a buuke. Like a pair of raptors the duo scout the place for free language lesson or better yet, to strike a gold mine and a ‘foreign friend’. They are pretty much left alone as the woman in front of them is too worried about finding a foreign guy as she’s overeducated and too old for the local set. Hiding behind scads of rouge and lipstick that make appear more like a voodo doll than a kewpie, she coifs her hair as she’s seen a million times on Sex and the City, all the while swiveling her head trying to catch a man.
Foreigners have separated themselves from this woeful pack, with foreign women perched behind laptops doing the math on what value it is they can add to this place, while the foreign guys sit behind mags about wine tasting or their Chinese to English dictionary, waiting for a – language partner- wink wink. The rest of the people seem to be the type who are oblivious to the world but thoroughly enjoy a good book and how it makes them feel while they sit and bask in the Beijing sunlight.
I merely sip my coffee and shake my head at it all….

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