The other day I was browsing through Chinese news websites doing some research for a school assignment, when I came across a very interesting collection of photos. The collection is titled ‘First Time’ (第一次) and it contains 26 photos, all capturing first times of something in China after 1980.
Take a look at this photo titled ‘the first foreign fast food restaurant’:
It was taken on November 12th 1987 in Beijing at Qianmen area, which back then was known as prosperity strip (繁华地带) when KFC opened its first restaurant in China. McDonald’s arrived three years later in 1990.
How about this photo – ‘First Cup of Coffee’ taken in 1987 also in Beijing?
Most likely it’s not the first cup of coffee but in the pre-Starbucks era it carries some symbolic meaning. Plus, according to the sign, in that very window you could also buy kaoya and I find that fascinating.
Another classic is ‘The First Bottles of Coca Cola’:
Coca Cola was introduced to the world in 1886 and made it to China long before this photo was taken. This is the first bottles who made it to The People’s Republic of China after the reforms and opening up. The photo was taken in September 1979. The first Coca Cola production line was set in 1981 in Beijing.
Other photos which I like but are not food related are:
One of the first groups of laowai tourists in China (Forbidden City – 1980):
First Hollywood big production motion picture (1984 Guangzhou):
First Sound of Opposition (March 1988):
For the rest of the photos (as well as these photos in larger size) see the original article.
The opening photo of this post was not taken from that article but it seems fitting to me, as it captures the beginning of the process that made the other images possible.