Monday, March 2, 2009

Back in action

So this morning I woke up all quiet and lazy.
No place to go, no one to meet.
It was nice, in the yellow room with the rainbow drapes.

I did laundry, then spent all morning in the foreign language bookstore, copying stuff out of the Japan Lonely Planet. (Foreign language- because in China, English IS a foreign language! Haha.) Noticed that on the map in the back someone had gone in and written a lowercase "t" over the uppercase "T" in Taiwan. National pride goes deep, I tell ya.

The first thing I did when I left the house (ok, hotel) was to go to that little Kodak photo shop and DOWNLOAD MY PHOTOS TO DVD!!!! It took two DVDs and 60 yuan to transfer everything- I've just about filled up the 8 gig memory card. Whew- so glad I was given this second chance NOT to be stupid.

I continued down the street on the way to the bookstore.

Was hungry, so I poked my head into this little shop that looked like it had some bowls of yogurt and muffins in the display case. Couldn't properly identify any of the bowls of stuff- it LOOKED like yogurt, and it LOOKED like it might be tasty, but most- no, I'll say pretty much EVERY taste expectation here in China has been cruelly undermined by something like salty pickle when you were expecting sweet bean, or nice big chuncks of deep fried sweet and sour pork FAT intstead of pork MEAT... (On a side note, the funniest one was the bread sandwich- yeah, it looked like there might have been meat inside, but it was just more bread! Hilarious.) There was one time in the Shanghai subway when I actually bought something that ended up being exactly what I had secretly hoped it might be.

Well anyways, I was standing there contemplating this yogurt-looking stuff, and I noticed a beautiful sound- it was coming from behind the counter- it wasn't a stereo, it was the shopkeeper, and she was singing... Like the voice of an angel, it brought tears to my eyes. It was unreal. The word "singing" is too brash a word for the sweet texture of sound that poured from her.

And she was so gracious- I was just standing there, dumbfoundedly staring at her. She smiled at me, and I told her she sounded beautiful (Language barrier be damned! But she understood me). She held herself with pride and compassion, and helped me choose something to eat. It is actually pretty rare that people have been helpful in choosing food at a restaurant, so I really felt like I was in a dream. I sat down and ate, and she kept singing, occasionally interupted by the telephone or an oblivious customer. The yogurt was strange, it had a taste kind of like old socks, but the muffin was good. I sat there mesmerized.

I was reading up on Beijing today, and it mentioned how internet access is increasingly more and more rare. There are people employed by the government to scour websites for anti-government propaganda. About 10% of all websites available online are restricted access from inside China. In addition, these net bars SUCK!!! They are not for normal people to come and check their email or update their blogs. I am sitting next to crazed young Chinese chain smokers playing online computer games for hours. It is unbelievably disgusting- the heaters are on high, it's too warm and the air is hazy from cigarette smoke. The guy next to me lights up his cigaratte and I may just as well be smoking too. Ugh. I may not be back here too much more before I leave- hopefully Japan is better. Please everybody! Boycott cigarettes! Don't allow your body to be controlled by nasty selfish perpetuators of self-pity, disease and scum. Ugh! Disgusting! I can't wait until the rest of the world catches up to the idea of forbidding indoor smoking like the US, India and England- not sure where else it is banned. I suppose China still has a ways to go. The big thing on the news these days is discussions regarding setting up a Chinese food safety comission. First things first.
Peace. I'm out before I suffocate.

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