Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Me, Xi Yang Yang, and Capitalism On The Great Wall

Every Chinese kid (including me!) is a big fan of Xi Yang Yang, the television cartoon sensation who dominates not only the airwaves, but the markets for backpacks, toys, snacks, clothes...you name it. A commercial juggernaut, that Xi Yang Yang.

As we ascended to one of the first platforms during our hike up Juyongguan, there he was, a human-sized Xi Yang Yang, waving at the adoring masses trudging by. Drawn in by this unexpected treat, I went up to Xi Yang Yang, and Julie manned the camera for a few fun shots.

Xi Yang Yang was ready for this, moving me into an assortment of poses with him. It was this elaborate choreography that first set Julie's "uh-oh" off. As for me, I was consumed by the moment, hamming it up with Xi Yang Yang.

Stepping away after this all of this excitement, we quickly discovered (for Julie, confirmed) that Xi Yang Yang had immediate commercial motivations. Motioning that he wanted some cash, Z quickly produced three kuai and we tried to make our move up the wall. Xi Yang Yang, though, was persistent, demanding ten kuai for the photos that were snapped.

Betting that Xi Yang Yang would not give chase, we decided to make a break for it, and high-tailed it up to higher heights. Luckily, the "pleasant goat" stayed put, trolling for more photo opportunities. And so we quickly left the situation in our dust, not looking back.

You think I would learn after all these years...

~Steve

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