Thursday, January 18, 2007

What? No lattes?

A Starbucks outlet in the Forbidden City (or the Palace Museum, if you'd prefer) may be forced out, after a CCTV anchorman declared the coffee house "undermined the Forbidden City's solemnity and trampled over Chinese culture," on his blog.

Unlike all those souvenir stands, "art" exhibits and snackbars, which clearly exemplify the highest flowering of the Qing Dynasty.

I'll admit, I was pretty appalled when I first heard that there was a Starbucks on the Imperial City grounds (though the article says it opened in 2000, I swear it was there in Dec. 1999, my first trip back to Beijing in 20 years). But when I actually saw the store, I couldn't get too worked up about it. If you haven't been there, the Starbucks is tucked into a small, traditional gallery, and is actually rather easy to miss.

Besides, it was freezing cold that day, and yeah, I had a double espresso, and I liked it.

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