Paul Frank and Platform Shoes

Alright everyone, now I’m not claiming to be a trend-setting fashionista like Victoria Beckham (I friggin WISH!) or Kate Moss or anything, but didn’t Paul Frank and platform shoes disappear into 7th grade fashion history along with my braces and Tommy Hilfiger overalls?

I feel like I’ve been transported back in time over here. I have never in my life seen so much Paul Frank clothing and paraphernalia. That damn monkey face is EVERYWHERE!! Seriously though, you probably think I’m exaggerating but really he’s taken over. Bags. Dresses. Shirts. EVERYTHING!

And the platforms shoes! Don’t even get me started on the platforms shoes. It’s like the Spice Girls (the old, 1990’s amazing Spice Girls) came to the future and vomited all over Beijing. Sparkly platforms, wooden platforms, leather platforms – no matter, they’re here. And they’re here with a vengeance!

The other day I went to find some heels and you’d think stores would be overflowing with 6-inch stilettos as per usual but no, quite the opposite. Instead I find chunky heels with thick straps, big buckles and platforms. Platforms, platforms, platforms! There’s no escaping them!

They say everything comes back in style but really, Paul Frank and platforms?! Lord help me now.

I wish I could show you photo evidence, and trust me I tried, but I just looked like the crazy white girl taking photos of people in elevators.

Honestly though, what YEAR is it?!

Ashton Says: Someone kill me if I come home wearing a monkey face and ankle-breaking shoes. Just kidding, but seriously.

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China – Day 11

Another great weekend here in Beijing!

As mentioned, our magazine Art Bank invited us to an art show on Saturday. I really didn’t know what to expect but I have to say it was pretty darn cool! The show was called Stripping and it was an international contemporary glass art exhibit.

We had to venture way far into an Art District of Beijing. It was filled with unique architecture and cute cafes and shops.

I’ve never seen so many crazy things made of glass! Big ones, small ones, some as big as your head! Haha sorry I just kind of wanted to sing that. But for real, there were so many cool things made of glass. I had no idea they were even possible.

In my one week with Art Bank, I have to say in my interest in contemporary art has increased significantly. I’m not sure I’ll ever become an expert, or even a collector, but I can definitely appreciate the creativity and hard work. It’s really quite beautiful and inspiring.

Saturday night we found a nice patio and watched a Chinese Michael Jackson impersonator. Really though, do I need to say more?

As Sunday comes to an end over here, I’m ready for work tomorrow and look forward to learning more about Chinese contemporary art and learning different ways to use my Communication/PR skills to help Art Bank magazine as much as possible.

Short and sweet folks! Stay tuned for more 🙂

Ashton Says: Always take opportunities to try something new. You never know what you may learn. An open mind is the best tool in life.

PS. I’ll give you one guess as to which piece was my favourite from the pics below. Ready… Go.

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China – Day 10

Day 10 today! Wow wow wow.

I’ve been a little slacking with posts so I’ve got a lot of updating to do!

Our first work week is finished and it was a bit of a roller-coaster ride! Started off slow, then got busy, then ended kind of slow. We found out mid-week that they didn’t want to overwhelm us right away in case we were still fighting jet-lag which is actually very sweet. But we are definitely on China-time now and are ready for work – I hope it picks up!

Editing english here is still absolutely hilarious. It’s obviously a direct translation from mandarin and it never makes ANY sense. We’re slowly learning how to get the important info and make it sound professional. One page at a time, one headache at a time – LOL.

(I’ll have to take a picture of our view on Monday. We’re on the 23rd floor and it’s quite beautiful!)

Thursday night we went back to Sanlitun (Bar Street) for cheap beers. We ended up getting four beers and a hookah for 90 Yuan, which is about $15CAD. $15!! Soo amazing.

While sitting on the patio enjoying the people watching (we did see a fight which is always fun!) these two Dutch guys joined us. They somehow convinced us (me and my rubber arm!) to check out a dance club called BABYFACE.

It was actually sooo sick! The DJ was this chick who was so crazy badass. I love seeing women rock out – so confident! The club itself was quite large and filled with people dressed to impress. Unfortunately we were not informed of the fancy-pants dress code so we looked like dirty hobos in comparison. Ah bein.

The best part was the women were all wearing these EPIC high heels, like straight up stripper shoes which made it very hard for them to dance (or even move at all for that matter). This worked out really well for us because the dance floor was just filled with men.

At home, a dance floor filled with men (unless you’re at a gay bar) would be pretty lame. But here, the guys were JAMMING! It was hilarious. I’m pretty sure people thought we were just weird white people but they looooved dancing with us – the two Dutch guys included!

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Friday was a much needed relaxing movie night at home. I was able to Skype with some of my besties and sit in some air-conditioning. I even at one point got a chill – lucky!

Today (Saturday) our office is hosting an art show which we have been invited to. I’m actually pretty pumped! Never been to anything like that before. I hope we get to see some cool stuff… I will definitely take pics and share with you!

Ashton Says: Work hard, play hard. Stripper shoes: not meant for epic dancing. Chinese dance floors: absolute hilarity. Dance score: Ashton/Cass – 1. Chinese girls – 0.

Ahh! White people!

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I’m almost through  my first week in Beijing, China! I have to say it’s been quite the experience already. People warned me about the staring but honestly, that hasn’t been the funniest part yet.

Sure we get a few stink-eye stares everyday, sometimes even a death-glare (this more comes from babies who are like “who the hell are you and why do you look so weird”) but the most interesting part so far has been our random encounters with other white people.

I’ve never been anywhere before where white people were the minority (minus Caribbean destinations but most of the resort is white people anyways) and I thought perhaps we might stick together and make friends. In fact it’s quite the opposite.

Let me walk you through a typical encounter:

Me walking down the street: LOOK A WHITE PERSON!!
White person: Oh gawwwd another white person!!
Both of us: *Duck and hide immediately!!*

I’m not sure why we’re so afraid of each other but for some reason it’s like spotting an alien. We’re just as guilty as the locals.

Ashton Says: I promise I won’t yell and point at you if you don’t run away from me. Let’s be friends! Please! I swear I’m really nice! Oh god I’m totally crazy aren’t I…

China – Day 6

Welp, today was our second day at the office. I would have written about yesterday’s first day experience except it was kind of a let down. A let down in the sense that they didn’t even really know we were coming and basically had no work for us. We sat around for a couple hours before finally getting assigned a task. Better late than never I suppose.

Everyone in the office is crazy nice and our colleague, Alex, took us out for lunch which was wicked nice of her! She is also the only the person who speaks English which is pretty handy haha.

We were going to get some groceries last night but we ended up back at Sanlitun, the bar street, on a mission to find some friends – typical. And in our unsuccessfulness we were actually really successful!

One of our travel books suggested a bar named D Lounge. Again we figured, “We’ll find it! How hard could it be?!” Famous last words apparently. We got crazy lost and out of my hangriness we stumbled into this place called The Local; an American inspired bar – and I have to say it was soooo refreshing finally being able to read a menu for once.

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We had a hoot at The Local! We took shots with the owner, and met two gems! We officially made some friends – finally!

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Today was much more productive in the office. We finished off our work from Monday and were given an English piece to edit. It was a pretty brutal translation that required so much brain power. I could barely understand what it was talking about. But we powered through it and the team was incredibly grateful for our work! Very rewarding – well worth the headache!

Anyhoo, not much goin on over here right now. I’m thinkin a blog post about the CRAZY fashions is in order. You all NEED to see these outfits haha. Platforms are alive and well folks!

Ashton Says: Learn to speak Mandarin before arriving to China and invest in a fancy sun umbrella – I totally get it now.



China – Day 4

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August 4, 2013

Oh boy was day four a good one!

I finally slept in passed 7:00am which was pretty glorious (was up at 5:30am yesterday), I think my jet-lag is slowly wearing off.

Today we decided to find some tourist info, which you’d think was a pretty reasonable request… On the map there was a “Tour Bus Station” so we decided to give that a go. We took three different subways to get there and when we get out we see a Tour Hub Dispatch sign. “Yes,” we think, “this must be it.” So we walk around like stupid tourists trying to read Mandarin signs and never end up finding anything of any use. Typical.

We DID however manage to find this woman who was like 104 standing in the middle of an intersection eating a piece of cantaloupe and yelling at cars as they honked at her. Seriously she was NOT moving for anyone; quite happy being in the middle of the busy street. She just shook her cane at passing cars and enjoyed her melon hahaha. It was so insanely hilarious. By far the highlight of my day.

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Can I also just mention today was like 40 degrees celsius? It was sooo stupid hot I couldn’t even handle it.

Anyways, we managed to stumble upon Tianamen Square: home of the Tianamen Square Massacre (Google it). It was crazy cool. Definitely had the architecture I envisioned when thinking about China. The streets were filled with many different restaurants and little shops. Such cool stuff!

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We stopped for a quick lunch in the Square and watched a chef butcher ducks for 45 straight minutes. I sneakily took a photo of him and I just want you all to check the face I snapped haha. It’s soo epic. He looks like he’s ready to kill at will. Seriously, look at it.

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After lunch we ventured to the other side of Beijing, literally the furthest point possible, to get to the Beijing Zoo! Lord knows I love me a good zoo. This zoo was pretty intense. And by intense I mean absolutely insane. People basically just do whatever the heck they want; throwing food at bears, knocking on the glass at pandas and beaming a flashlight on nocturnal animals. I almost yelled at someone but I got scared; but seriously so mean of them. The animals were all SUPER adorbs though.

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I was told about this before I left but I saw it for the first time today. Little kids walk around with these like assless chap inspired pants and just pee on the sidewalk – no matter who sees or who walks in it with new strappy sandals. I saw WAY too many naked children today. But I have decided that little Chinese babies are the cutest babies in the world! Oh my god they’re cute.

So back to the heat. Can I just mention again how gadamn hot it was today?! Honestly I drank three bottles of water and never once went to the bathroom (too much info? sorry about that…) I was basically sweating buckets ALL day. The air was thick to breathe and the humidity showed no mercy.

All in all, today was a very successful day. Lots of exploring and lots of fun!

PS. We’ve been keeping a Stare Count (aka how many times people stare at us) and today we reached a new high of like 60. Some people even said hello to us! We’re definitely famous now.

Til tomorrow…

Ashton Says: Drink lots of water. Beware the devil chef. And don’t forget to bring a towel – China is daaaaaaamn HAWT!!!

China – Day 3

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August 3, 2013

Yesterday was our first full day and I have to say it was pretty eventful. We’re still fighting the jet-lag so we were up pretty early. Aka 7:00am early, it was pretty brutal.

For breakfast we went to this place around the corner – don’t ask me the name because I have NO idea. There’s no such thing as “breakfast” food here apparently so I ordered this noodle dish. It was the biggest bowl I’ve ever seen, I couldn’t finish it and this lady gave me the stinkiest eye for leaving it. My bad.

Cass then had to go to the bank to exchange some money and the security guy was so epic. Instead of a gun or something he had this beating stick. With spikes on it. It was so awesome haha. I really wanted to see him throw down. Does that make me a bad person? Oh well.

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After breaky we got suuuuper lost trying to get to the Ya Show Clothing Market. We tried asking for directions but everyone pointed us in different directions. Apparently fewer people speak english than we thought haha.

We finally made it and it was awesome and filled with every brand possible, and for like a third of the price. They had North Face jackets and D&G dresses for like $20CAD. Shenanigans. Shockingly enough I didn’t buy ANYTHING!! I don’t know how I had the self-control.

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For the evening, we decided to go on an English-speaking-person hunt. Google told us that the most popular tourist spot is called Sanlitun, otherwise known as Bar Street. This lovely Chinese man named Tony (how do they get these names?!) welcomed us into this bar with 2-for-1 drinks, excellent for two women!

We ended up meeting a German and an American who joined us for the night! We had a hoot! The only downside, which we totally should have been ready for, was the hole in the ground toilet. It was quite interesting to say the least.

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On our way home we walked by these crazy street vendors with even crazier foods. There was also this guy selling the cutest, tiniest puppies in the street. Oh my gawd they were soooo adorable!

Anyhoo, it was a pretty exciting day. We’re not sure what’s up for today but the day is young! Perhaps hit a park or check out a temple.

Ashton Says: Bring a map with you when exploring foreign cities. And don’t eat Chinese KFC.

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China – Day 1

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For those of you who don’t know this already, I am doing a Communications internship in Beijing, China throughout August and September.

Basically it was the longest flight of life! OMG it was long. Anyhoo, not much happened today but here’s a brief breakdown of how my day went…

The Flight

We left the morning of Wednesday July 31st at 10:00am. (Mom dropped me off at the Toronto airport and she didn’t even cry – props to you Mom!)

2 hours in: Cass and I are enjoying the flight so far – the free wine definitely helps! It’s one of those crazy long flights where you think it’s already been five hours but really it’s been two. Ugh. Only 11 more to go! Thank god for movies and cards!! (Cass totally kicked my butt in Rummy, boooooo)

6 hours in: A few mini bottles of wine and a sleep mask are perfectly necessary right meow.

7 hours in: It’s a movie marathon over here. We decided to watch the same movie at the same time. AND after the third try, we hit Play at that SAME time – how exciting!!! (We officially need off this plane…)

8 hours in: Find Mary Poppins in the list of movies. We both discover our undying love for Julie Andrews. Further proving we are sisters from other misters.

8.5 hours in: We get more wine. Thank heavens. I CAN’T HANDLE THIS PLANE ANY LONGER!!!!

Welcome To Beijing

13.5 hours later we FINALLY arrive around 3:00 in Beijing!! We basically skipped right through Wednesday and straight on to Thursday. No one likes Hump Day anyways.

Typical Ashton: I’ve already lost a sweater. Left it on the shuttle train to baggage claim. This is why I can’t have nice things…

4:00pm: we find our Centennial rep. I’m in a cab and all I can say is THANK THE LORD I’m not driving in this city. Holy crap it’s insane on these roads. The cabby literally just zoomed ahead while in the middle of two lanes. No wonder everyone’s car is all dented and scratched. Pure insanity.

We also met this really nice family on the plane who work for the American embassy and they’re gonna take us out for dinner some night soon. Will be nice to get some pro tips!

4:50pm : Drove by a hipster. Weird!

The evening is kind of an exhausted blur. I really need some sleep. But we did manage to find some delicious dinner and found some wine in the most hilarous Mart of all time. Excellent!

Welp, my first day in Beijing was pretty sweet. Can’t wait to explore the city some more tomorrow. Internship starts on Monday.

Stay tuned for epic pics and more crazy China adventures!!

Ashton Says: Note to self, bring deodorant and toothpaste on 13 hour flights. Also, learn Mandarin.