23 May 2005

all that glitters is gold

Exhausted but happy. I wonder if I could ever understand this city, this capitalist island ("special economic zone") in this communist country.

"DBD [sic], watch, bag for lady?"

I mean, what is there to say about the armless boy begging for change in front of the Prada store?

"DBD, watch, bag for lady?"

The hustlers bother us less if I wear my pageboy hat with big sunglasses. (Don't shoot till you see the whites of their eyes!)

The buildings are fantastic---everything sparkles and glitters and shines. They're enormous pieces of Vegas-style decadence and over-the-top-ness.

Yes, we love it: the city we don't understand in all its contradictions. The only food I wouldn't eat was a chicken sandwich from KFC. (It was dark meat and skin and white meat all mashed together and extremely disgusting, but we were in a hurry. I filled up on fries and spilled a Diet Coke on a woman's shoes. She wouldn't look at me, just screamed. Everyone apologized to *me.*)

But we don't understand this city, this Paris of the East and Whore of the Orient, not fully, not really.

We like the street food and street vendors better than the places with tablecloths. The first place we went the counter-girl said a word I know: "Wonton," and I nodded my head enthusiastically and ate a bowl of the best soup of my life.

"DBD, watch, bag for lady?"

We could like it here. We do like it here.

Ni hao from Shanghai.

betholindo at 10:00

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