Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Practicality In Everything But Fashion (Especially Footwear)

In my opinion, the Chinese are as practical as people come. They find uses for everything and solutions for everyday issues by relying on "necessity as the mother of invention."

Your roof is loose? Put a few bricks on it. That will keep things from moving. Need to take down a building? Get together a bunch of helpers, level the place with pick axes, and cart the debris away in your sanlunche. Need to make a few kuai? Set up a blanket on the top of a pedestrian bridge and display your items (from watches to old shoes) for passersby. Maybe these techniques do not sound fancy by western standards, but they get the job done quickly and efficiently.

What is fancy, though, for Chinese women, especially between the ages of seventeen and forty, is their fashion and footwear. While it may seem natural to see women in cosmopolitan areas like Xintiandi in Shanghai or Sanlitun in Beijing walking in skirts and four inch heels, the marbled, stone, and cement steps around China's historical sites seem a bit out of place for such pageantry.

Time after time, tourist site after tourist site, we have observed woman after woman decked out in their zui hao de yifu. My personal favorites were spotted at the Great Wall, as a woman in a skirt, leggings, and high-heeled boots scaled the steep wall of Badaling, and another at the Giant Buddha outside of Chengdu, who made her way down the steps of (as Steve calls it) Cirith Ungol. Equipped with a parasol to protect her from the harmful tanning rays of taiyang, four-inch heels, and a rather snug skirt, she slowly but surely descended to the bottom with a smile, as if reaching the end of the runway.

I never cease to be amazed here...24...7...



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