I think we were only 50 foreign students or so at the university. Quite a few were Asian, perhaps half were white, and there was 1 black guy from Ethiopia – he was stared at a lot. I felt sorry for him.
I was invited to appear with an Australian guy in a TV quiz just because we were foreigners. And complete strangers often wanted to get on a photo with me because it was so rare for them to see foreigners with blond hair and blue eyes.
I remember travelling through the Sichuan countryside on my own. I met a lady who invited me for lunch at her home (this was very unusual at the time as contact between foreigners and Chinese was discouraged – it was only a couple of years after Tiananmen Square). I didn’t manage to explain to this lady that I came from Holland. In the Sichuan dialect, they don’t distinguish between the “l” and the “n”. So while I tried to explain I came from Helan (Holland), she thought I came from Henan province. 🙂
I’ve not been to Huangshan, but I used to love Yangshuo. Cycling amongst the hills was magic. But Yangshuo has grown so quickly. I met a couple at the hotel – she was a cleaner and he a handyman. This was in 1991. The second year I met them, they had started renting out bikes. A few years later, they owned a restaurant. And the last time I met them (in 2005), they were building their own hotel. That’s Chinese capitalism.
Enchant readers. Woo customers. Win business.