While taking pictures at the Great Wall, a group of three tourists asked us to take a picture of them. It seemed commonplace, until we realized that they wanted us to be in the picture with them. Tourist sites are not as full as they would be in the summertime (especially this summer with the Olympics), and almost everyone is visiting from other parts of China. As we are often the only non-Asians in a crowd, people regularly stare at the four of us. Several have taken our picture, and many try to discreetly do so by standing close-by while another shoots them or holding up their cell phone as if text messaging.
Sun Associate Arts and Entertainment Editor Rebecca Weiss ’09 said it made her feel like a celebutant.
More seriously, however, we have been told by Beijingers that many people from western China (which is a largely poor, rural area) never encounter non-Chinese people until they visit one of the large eastern cities.