Ni hao, good Reader!
What I gots fer yee here is a sort of variety pack, a bag of mixed nuts, a combo platter of some different sights that make China, well, China. What do we think about that?
Right on, Bro. He’s (one of) our neighborhood, friendly, portable fruit vendors. And as you can see he doesn’t need to buy a peeler. Or a knife. Or a trowel.
Out and about, I’ve noticed a few fashion statements here in southern China. Sometimes they show a little more skin than we’re used to:
And yeah, this next one is a stretch to call it fashion, too. But where else am I supposed to put this photo?:
It’s cool when fashion and culture combine:
I saw this kid running around in a restaurant. Makes me wonder if kids in Norway wear old viking’s helmets for fun. Heck, how about even some Scandinavian boys back in Minnesota? Certainly would wear the horns prouder than our men in purple uniform.
At another restaurant I got a taste of more recent culture. After all, China (politically, anyway) is quite new. 1949. Many folks here are old enough to remember, and pay homage to, the leader who started it all.
Personally, I think that many Chinese folk’s capacity for religion is partially taken up by their near-worship of this guy. But to overstate his influence in China and worldwide would be a tough thing to do.
He’s on all their paper money, too.
And one day I tried to exchange some of this Chinese dough for a bit of Hong Kong bread. I went to a bank and asked if it would be cool to do this despite me not being a member there. They said sure. So the next day I returned, took out my wad, and waited for some service. “Okay, Mr. American man, but we’ll need to see your passport.” I brought it just in case. But then came the paperwork. Ugh, I remember being hungry and wanting to get moving:
That got done, and now it was time to see a teller. She was a nice gal, but offered a troubled look. And you never want to see them talking to other tellers, either. Then she said to me, “Where did this money come from?” A printing press. No, wait, I mean a tree. Uh, wait a sec. Heaven. “I work here”, I said. A nice lady in the line next to mine helped me realize that I needed to provide proof of income.
Of course I didn’t bring that. Silly me. Then the feeling dawned that all this waiting and hunger was for absolutely nothing. I left with those very same pink bills. Later, I’d approach one of several money-changing ladies who sit on the corner with pouches of cash. I was trying to work one of these black-market transactions, but she looked around like it was a drug deal, so I backed off. I ended up changing money at the ferry port–for a good exchange rate, too: )
(Interesting side note: the Chinese currency, the RMB, is inching up against the dollar. Say, what are you guys doing to my country while I’m away?!)
Yeah, China’s got its ups and downs. What place doesn’t, right? You like it for what it is. Unless, I suppose, they jail you for some unprovoked reason. And staying away from the black markets, I’ll keep my nose clean–just like my fingernail friend. And I’ll keep my eye on the prize–just like this fella–though sometimes the prize is darn-near blinding.
to offering you more and more about life far, far away,
to new plateaus,