Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Yunnan and more

Just back from three weeks away, most recently in Lijiang, in China's southern Yunnan province. I could write an entire post on the need for rudimentary nighttime noise pollution rules in Lijiang's beautiful (if unabashedly commercial) old town, in order to help promote that often undervalued leisure activity: sleeping. But I won't. I will, however, note that it was nice to visit a part of the Chinese countryside that hadn't been completely drained of working-age humanity in pursuit of exports - not, of course, because of the global downturn, but because Lijiang (photo courtesy of GGBerry Travel Blog) has a booming tourism-based economy. And to refer to the second-most hackneyed source of insight (the first being taxi drivers), a blind masseur who helped put Colin back together again (and who spent 10 years working in Shenzhen) mentioned that prices for basics - food, clothing - are now about the same in Lijiang and Shenzhen. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, given how many Chinese tourists there were in Lijiang, but I still thought it had to be cheaper than Shenzhen, one of China's most expensive places to live. Anyway, before I post anything substantive, I wanted to link to a couple sites that relate to interviews and talks I gave over the past few weeks. The first is a podcast with two impressive American interns at Caijing, China's leading business magazine. The second is a blog post by the Daily Telegraph's Beijing correspondent, Peter Foster, about a talk I gave on how China's second-generation factory workers are not a source of organized social unrest. Peter does a great job of summarizing my points, arguably better than I could have.

1 comment:

keith said...

It is true - Lijiang is now one of the most expensive places in China, due to tourism over-development which has pushed up rental prices, and in turn led to high prices for basics like beer and coffee. With most currencies going down against the US recently, it is now about twice the price to get a bottle of beer or a coffee in a Lijiang bar or cafe as it is in North America or Europe.
There are some noise controls - music is supposed to be turned down at 11pm and off at midnight, but it is not enforced expect when officials visit.
More info at http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog/happysheep/shangri-la-la/tpod.html