Across Continents

Ken's Blog

Watching the Westerners

True. I’ve met a few Westerners in Western China. More travellers than tourists, drawn to the oasis towns of Turpan and Dunhuang. But Xi’an is different. Lots more of them. Hardly surprising, the Terracotta Army close by, drawing visitors in. Intriguing to watch.

It starts with breakfast. Guests invited to place their trays on a trolley when they’ve finished. I do so because that’s what the sign says. And I’m English. It’s what I do best. The Germans, a couple of retired couples, their smart casuals and scarfs an immediate giveaway, do the same. I’d expect nothing less.

A solitary French couple leave the remnants of breakfast behind for others to clear away. I’d sought to engage them in conversation, explaining “Je parle peu le Francais“. A young Spanish couple keep themselves to themselves. Something to do with Franco.

Later I meet Jesse, Clive and another French couple on a tour to the Terracotta Army. More travellers than tourists. Sense of adventure. There’s mention of Pizza Hut, KFC and McDonalds. General agreement that there’s nothing wrong with the odd spot of Western familiarity. Think we all admitted to sneaking into one of the chains, or had plans to do so before leaving Xi’an.


Tags: , ,

2 responses to “Watching the Westerners”

  1. Fran says:

    Well well, Ken, what happened with your blog? What the hell with Franco etc.? I don’t expect you say something like “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” each time you meet another Englishman all over the world … I guess this was some sort of humour from your part I didn’t catch, but certainly not English humour.
    Good luck.

  2. admin says:

    Hi Fran – Great to see the post has at least led to a comment, something I relish! I think the rationale for the piece is fairly self-explanatory – seen very few Westerners until Xi’an – and was very intrigued – being an avid people-watcher – to observe their behaviour. Incidentially, not one of them English…. although the underlying humour, drawing a little on national stereotypes, is most definitely! And the passing reference to (General) Franco? A teasing reference to his dictatorship resulting in the relative political isolation of Spain. And, seeing you appear to be Spain, I can understand this might touch a little nerve… Ken

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Terms & Conditions of Use | Copyright © 2009-2024 Ken Roberts