Today, on Europe’s Day I was browsing through my recent New Yorker’s I had not time to read over previous weeks. Coincidentally, I stumbled on article “The Grand Tour” by Evan Osnos (edition on Apr 18, 2011). As a foreigner living in China, he joins an organised Chinese tour group on a trip to Europe. Travellers boarded the plane in Shanghai, landed in Frankfurt and went on “Classical Europe” bus tour to visit five countries in ten days.
Very well written article, entertaining and insightful look, particularly, how a Chinese guide Li introduced Europe to his group.
Here are couple of his quotes on European economy:
“That’s the way Europe is. On the surface it appears to rely on everyone’s self discipline, but behind it all there are strict rules”
“We have to get used to the fact that Europeans sometimes move slowly. In China, we are accustomed to three of us putting our items on the counter at the same time, and then the old lady gives change to three people without making a mistake. Europeans don’t do that.”
“I’m not saying that they’re (Europeans) stupid. If they were, they wouldn’t have developed all this technology, which requires subtle calculations. They just deal with math in different way.”
“Let them (Europeans) do things their way, because if we’re rushing then they’ll feel rushed, and that will put them in a bad mood, and then we’ll think that they’re discriminating against us, which is not necessary the case.”
On Mediterranean life style: “Wake up slowly, brush teeth, make a cup of espresso, take in the aroma. With a pace like that, how can their economies keep growing? It’s impossible.”
“The European economy is in decline. Times have changed. Can a place where workers go on strike everyday grow economically? Certainly not. People here are strangely used to it. …. You can be stuck at one spot for four hours because the streets are blocked. I hope that you will never encounter a terrible situation like that.”
“The government wants to clean it (graffiti’s in Milan), but it doesn’t have enough money.”
“If this were China, it would be done in six months! (on the highway it took decades to build) And that’s the only way to keep the economy growing.”
“Analysts overseas can never understand why Chinese economy has grown so fast”
“Look at this – a hundred and ten thousand euros for a house! Cheaper than America. Much cheaper than Shanghai.”