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Tourist Shoppers Abroad Demonstrate China's Economic Might



BEIJING - One week after the end of the Golden Week holiday, when more and more of upwardly mobile China travels abroad, the bills are rolling in. And once again, Chinese purchasing power is stunning the world.

During the nine-day-long holiday, which this year encompassed both China’s National Day and the Moon Festival, Chinese tourists and shoppers spent 48 billion RMB ($7.7 billion) abroad, according to estimates of the World Luxury Association, the China Times reported.

The report noted that Chinese holiday-makers using credit cards for overseas consumption has soared 33% in comparison with the same period last year.

Chinese tourists spend most of their spending in Europe, the United States, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea. Affected by the on-going Diaoyu Islands dispute, travel to the traditionally popular destination, Japan, virtually dried up over the holiday earlier this month.

A source at the Paris Tourist Bureau said that about 150,000 Chinese tourists had visited the city and more than 2.6 billion RMB ($399 million) in total during this period, which represents an average consumption of 17,000 RMB ($2,712) per person.

As for the United States, the China Times report quoted data from Ctrip.com, an online travel agency, that 210,000 Chinese visited the country, two and a half times more than during an ordinary period. It’s estimated that they had contributed 9.3 billion RMB ($1.4 billion) to the American economy.

Two weeks ago, the founder of Zadig & Voltaire, a French fashion retailer, sparked controversy by announcing its new boutique hotel will not be open to Chinese tourists, who apparently are not chic enough to check out his wares, the Daily Mail reported.

Meanwhile, back in China, photos have been circulating on the Internet in China that were taken by passersby in the Galeries Lafayette, one of Paris’ top addresses for branded goods. In the images, we see various Chinese tourists squatting while wolfing down their take-away lunch out of styrofoam boxes just outside the DeBeers’ diamond show room.

While some Chinese were embarrassed by the images, another wrote “Don’t laugh! They’ll empty out the Louis Vuitton counter when they've finished eating!” the Apple Daily reported. Unlike the folk at Zadig & Voltaire, no one bothered the Chinese visitors. In the face of the global recession, even snooty French shopkeepers are not going to push paying customers away.

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food / travel

Pasta v. Fascists: How Italy's Staple Dish Became A Symbol Of Resistance

Pasta may not be considered controversial today, but it played an important role during Italy's fascist years, particularly in one family's celebration of community and liberation.

Photo of the Cervi family.

Photo of the Cervi family, whose seven children were shot by the Fascists on December 28, 1943, at the Reggio Emilia shooting range.

@comunisti_alla_ribalta via Instagram
Jacopo Fontaneto

ROME — Eighty years ago — on July 25, 1943 — the vote of no confidence by the Grand Council of Fascism, leading to Benito Mussolini's arrest, set off widespread celebrations. In Campegine, a small village in the Emilian province, the Cervi family celebrated in their own way: they brought 380 kilograms of pasta in milk cans to the town square and offered it to all the inhabitants of the village.

The pasta was strictly plain: macaroni dressed with butter and cheese, seen as more of a "festive dish" in that period of deprivation. As soon as the Cervi brothers learned about the arrest of Mussolini, they procured flour, borrowed butter and cheese from the dairy, and prepared kilos and kilos of pasta. They then loaded it onto a cart to distribute it to their fellow villagers. Pastasciutta (dry pasta) specifically regards dishes with noodles that are plated "dry", not in broth. That would disqualify soup, risotto, ravioli...

Even though pastasciutta is the most stereotypical type of pasta today, it had a complicated relationship with the government during Italy's fascist years.

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