I imagined the people to dress/look/act the same. But this in fact, is far from the truth.
Foshan City has a Tier 2 population of +- 8 million who all seem to be very different from each other. If you sit in a coffee shop and watch the stream of people walk past, or happen to get the opportunity of people watching on the subway, you will be so surprised as to the amount of individualism.
Fashion : Although there are fashion trends from long lacy skirts, just-too short trousers, mini skirts etc, each person’s take on these trends is slightly different. Each person has put their individual stamp on these ideas from using different colours, accessories, tattoos, make up, unique shoes and so forth.
Hairstyles : As you can imagine most everyone has straight dark hair and yet they all look different from putting colours into their hair, having a more traditional style to others have more funky / unconventional styles. There are a lot of different types of barbers and hair salons which all attract different types of clientele. I have spotted one close to our home which I am keen to try called “Bear Mutual” with zero English – should be a fun and funny experience.
Favourite restaurants : There are a tons of eating places in Foshan City from the more basic idea, to buffets, to more expensive restaurants to the western brands of McDonalds, KFC, Starbucks, Burger King and even IKEA. Everyone seems to love eating and piles their trays with an array of food – rice, noodles, soups, meats, fruits, veggies and even desserts if available. Most times people are drinking warm water or teas. Sodas are available but less stocked than one would imagine in a restaurant. Everyone seems to have their own favourite/s within the city. There is so much choice that I am sure one could eat at a different place every day for a year and still not run out of choice.
Cars : For those that do own cars, their range of brand choice range vastly from Toyota, Lexus, VW, Honda, Hyundai, Maserati, BMW, Porsche and many many more.
Bicycles : If a person own’s their own bicycle, these are personalised with different baskets, containers, colours, umbrellas, warmers, coats, etc. But most just hire one for a hour or more using their WeChat pay option.
Technology : everyone no matter your status carries at least one cell phone but in most cases TWO. Everyone is walking, driving, riding, sitting on their cell phones. From what I have witnessed they are either WeChat’ing, browsing WeChat (Chinese version of whatsapp, facebook and a payment form combined), browsing the web, watching shows/films, playing games, taking photos/selfies, facetiming or talking on the phone.
Brands/Status : Brands are very big here from clothing to technology. One never knows whether these items are genuine or fake, but whatever the case, the BRAND is evident.
Attention to detail in appearance : Every male or female takes a lot of attention to their appearance from hair, nails, make up and outfits.
Customer service : Even though there may be a language barrier, there is still this strong sense of ‘we are here to help YOU even if we have to use a translator app, draw pictures, use hand signals or even rush out to find an English speaking Chinese person off the street to help. We will do whatever it takes to make you as the customer feel like you have been helped or directed.’
Working hard : People do not seem to sleep. At any time of day or night there is movement. Even though shops and subways may be closed, there is this endless buzz within the city. There is always a sense of things happening whether light or dark. Often things happen overnight from street cleaning, trash removal to decorating the city. It feels like a beehive where there is continuous movement and energy.
Traditions : Even though there is influence coming from the West, there is still a strong sense of tradition from marrying people in your own culture, to having children no matter what your occupation.
Age : It is impossible to guess a person’s age – they all look young – really young. Their skin is beautiful with next to no lines/wrinkles/blemishes. If you see a person with acne, you are beyond shocked. Most people are very aware of sun damage so use sunscreen, hats and umbrella.
Body types : Most people have similar height and similar body shape. If you happen to see an overweight or tall person, you do a double take.
Over the month that we have been living in Foshan City, we have come to enjoy and love our new home with all its wonderful people.
Next week, we shall be visiting Hong Kong which we are very excited about. I shall be loading images from our visit once available.
Follow our journey and leave any questions that you may have.
Much Love, Jen