Friday, June 6, 2014

Hitchhiker's Guide for the Wealthy Chinese

Makes for a decidedly complicated packing list

So, you're a stinking-rich Chinese person. You own three houses for yourself and your family, and possibly one for an illicit lover. You also own seventy floors of mixed use real estate that are fully leased out right smack in downtown Hangzhou. You've furnished your homes with fine Italian leather seating, high thread count bed sheets, marble wall tiles, snazzy German kitchen appliances and an underground cellar full of dusty wine bottles next to a mirrored karaoke lounge. Your pockets are stuffed with an LV wallet, a fat wad of red 100 RMB notes, and an even fatter government bureaucrat or two.

Travel-wise, you've been to the major European cities and New York, done the Harrod's DFS thing, toured a few vineyards (one of which you ended up buying), and lost some money playing baccarat in Macau.

You find yourself standing by the window of your teenage child's Park Avenue penthouse looking out at the foliage of Central Park. Suddenly, you are hit with an existential question that clenches your throat and leaves you gasping: is this all there is? Life suddenly feels devoid of purpose and meaning. You wonder why you bother to continue living.  

Luckily, you are not alone. There are many like you who have faced such a crisis and come out just fine on the other end, thanks in no small part to a few enterprising travel agents. So long as you have a trip budget that can stretch to US$150,000 or so (on average), there are an innumerable variety of "experiential" holidays that will replenish your vigor and life mojo.

As shown in the table above, and in this Jing Daily article, the world is indeed a vast place full of wild and wonderful adventures. First of all, there's South America. Forget Argentina and Brazil. Try Bolivia. Don't ask why - just trust the survey. If that involves too much flora, fauna and hip-shaking Latin dancing, then there's always the South and North Poles. It'd just be you, your guide, a pair of tall unshaven dudes speaking Norwegian, and a few gazillion ice crystals. Alternatively, there's Bhutan, the ultimate anti-China. The people there are dirt poor because they live by something called the Gross Happiness Index and are deeply Buddhist. Who knows, you may even like the country enough that you might want to buy it and turn it into your own spiritual theme park.

Of course, if you are so far gone psychically that none of these destinations get your juices flowing, you can choose to chuck everything tied to this god-forsaken world and take your leave of it, literally, by heading into space. Think of it: no gravity to weigh you down, no airwaves that carry the nags and complaints of your employees and relatives to your tired ears. Just a vast, empty place that will leave you at peace in the company of your own ponderings. Mind you, the re-entry could be a bit of a doozy, and you and your vehicle can risk going down in flames. If that troubles you, there's always the one way journey option. Rather than worrying about what it might feel like to be reduced to a burnt rice wafer, you can spend the rest of your days floating above the human beehive, up where you rightfully belong - closer to the sun.   


  1. A touch of satire? What wines do these people drink? Is Burgundy passe? Super Tuscan? Barolo? May be Bolivian Cabernet?

  2. They are still heavy on French: Bordeaux but now broader than just the top growths, definitely into Burgundies. Italian seems mainly concentrated on the top names - STs, Gaja etc - in Tuscany and Piemonte. Australian and California tends to be too heavy for them, but they will definitely stock cult wines and names like Grange. I think that the term "Bolvian white" might refer to something besides wine...