The moment your feet hit the ground in the pulsating cityscapes of Shanghai or Beijing as an expat, it feels as though you've been transported to a dreamlike realm. I remember feeling a sense of disorientation, not knowing if I was in the East or West, or if I was in the present or catapulted into the future. As an expat, it's like you're constantly grappling with the concept of zhende (real) and jiade (fake).

I often found myself chuckling at the absurdity of it all.
It's akin to residing in an alternate reality, where "Philpis" electronics are run-of-the-mill and beef of an oddly light hue is commonplace. The everyday life in China can be a bizarrely enchanting comedy show for an expat, with these doppelganger brands becoming an integral part of the script.

Just when you're convinced you've seen the full spectrum of oddities, you trip over a sidewalk merchant peddling "Adibas" trainers or "Gicci" purses. This adds just another dash of comedic spice to your foreigner escapades.



Then, out of nowhere, the grapevine is abuzz about this fresh-out-the-box jiade Apple store. The peculiar thing is, everything inside looks suspiciously like it could be zhende. It's enough to give you a case of vertigo! In a society where the line between counterfeit and credible is as hazy as a Beijing smog, and where a convincing knock-off can laugh in the face of copyright laws, the question, "What is the true China?", morphs into an enigma that every expat is itching to crack.



This quest for the 'authentic China' takes you on a wild ride that extends well beyond the counterfeit designer wares and penny-pinching schemes. It's an expedition to the core of a nation that regularly tiptoes on the tightrope between what's zhende and what's jiade. Here's the kicker though, sometimes the handbags labeled as "Gicci" are actually more durable than the genuine article.
And let's not even get started on the "Adibas" shoes that might give the original Adidas a literal run for their money.
Everywhere you look, you'll find something that's almost a carbon copy of the West, be it a popular TV show or an entire mountain village.

However, it's not all disconcerting duality. When visitors stumble upon something modern and sophisticated in China, they are often pleasantly surprised. The surprise is twofold: firstly, that such a thing exists in China, and secondly, that it is so distinctly Chinese in character.

For instance, the high-speed trains in China are a marvel of modern engineering.
They're sleek, fast, and punctual. But more than that, they are a testament to China's drive and ambition.
They are a zhende representation of China's impressive rate of growth and development. And yet, when you step inside one of these trains, you're greeted by the familiar sight of passengers sipping on hot water from their thermos flasks - a distinctly Chinese custom.

Similarly, cities like Shenzhen and Guangzhou, renowned for their advanced technology and high-rise architecture, are also home to vibrant wet markets.

Nestled within the hubbub of the city, you can discover a veritable smorgasbord of delights, from just-picked produce to frisky fish ready to be your dinner. It's a vivid juxtaposition to the city's futuristic façade, but an integral thread in the local cultural tapestry. It's yet another slice of the authentic China, cohabitating with the gleaming, ultra-modern exterior that's as shiny as a new penny.

Now, let's shift gears and address the elephant in the room - the somewhat intimidating prospect of seeking employment as an expat. Have no fear, dear reader, because the internet has come to your rescue, like a digital knight in shining armor. Websites such as "Find Work Abroad" are ready and waiting to offer you a helping hand. This service is like a specialist tour guide for your career, steering you towards job opportunities in exotic locales like China, Thailand, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, and South-east Asia.

Being an expat doesn’t mean you have to spend your days bumbling about, jobless and confused. With the right resources, you can seize the day and secure that dream job. And hey, while you’re out and about, why not stop by that local market for some fresh produce? You never know when you might need a live seafood for a dinner party.
It's an invaluable tool for expats searching for the 'real' China through gainful employment and immersion in the local culture.

And here's a surprising fact that not many people know: the Great Wall of China, one of the country's most iconic landmarks, cannot be seen from space with the naked eye, contrary to popular belief. It's a little nugget of information that adds another layer of intrigue to the ever-fascinating search for the 'real' China.

Ultimately, the 'real' China is not just about what's zhende and what's jiade. It's about the experiences and the memories you make while living in this vast and diverse country.

Categories:
China,  Expat,  Zhende,  Jiade,  Authenticity,  Beijing,  Thailand,  Guangzhou, 

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