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It's Not Sweat, I Just Have Watery Clothing

travel china \ 2011-07-06

Because I am a stage and everything's a play - or some quote like that - this post is presented in Vingette-o-vision. Also known as me having been much too lazy to pack a bunch of unrelated events from the past month into something coherent and connected. Here goes.

year old
Parry bows
Parry does a little tap routine
Parry swallows a sword
Parry turns 20
rapturous applause
Parry leaves*

Act 1. Scene 2. Horror.

The day was clear and the air was clean. The train came on time and our commuter wasn't even tired at work. There was nothing that could go wrong with today. Nothing!

A small, kind of beady-eyed shadow appears behind our commuter in the subway, almost as if an evil beagle (or yorkie) was following you and had suddenly grown to the size of a small Chinese male and decided blocking out the sun was what all the cool kids were doing.

"Hi, so I'm really into Westerners and I was -"

Our commuter panics. This...thing...was talking to him in strangely unaccented English (or rather, strangely accented American). Is there a way out? Yes! He just needs to barrel over 3 petit office ladies!

"Hey! Don't be afraid!"

Too late, creepy dude. Too late. Maybe the rest of his first sentence was "and I was wondering if I could freak you the hell out." Our commuter will only ever know the answer in his nightmares.

Scene 2. Act 1. Food.

Pomegranate Flowers. Vinegar Soaked Garlic. Beer Garlic Pork Mushrooms. Yunan Potato Pancakes. Spicy Smoked Bacon.

One of these I can make. One of these was made when the chef was like "I wonder if this would taste good." Those two might be the same dish. It might also be delicious. Or rather, it is delicious. Don't worry. I won't tell you if I make it for you, I'll pretend it's something different.

Scene 2. Act 2. Gender bender.

(Little girl approaches our intrepid explorer)

"Hello, how are you?"

(Aww, cute.)

"I'm good, how are you?

"I'm fine. Are you a boy or a girl?"

(Goes through momentary internal crisis. Recovers. Responds with no noticeable loss of composure)

"I am a boy...what are you?"

"I am a girl!"

(Thank god that girl ran back to her mom. Pretty sure the next question was going to be "What are your thoughts on religion and its place in society?")

Act 2. Scene 3. If a Gypsy Cab crashes in the forest, does he still get paid?

We now return you to our regularly scheduled broadcast Gypsy Cabs of the World. This time, we examine the inner workings of the "Chinese Gypsy Cab," or 黑车 (Black Cars) in their parlance.

Ah, here comes someone off the subway! Yes, yes, reddish, white skin...big nose...I know what kind of person this is. I know his call. I will win him over.


(Ah! Young blood. A newcomer to the pack! He attempts to find a passenger among the throngs of commuters.)


(elder of the pack) "What did you say?"

"Taxi - you know, what we are."

"Oh." (Likely thinking to himself "Ah! So is "hello" a type of taxi?)

Join us next time for "Limousine Leopardesses: Whores of the (W)highway."

Act 3. Scene 1. The scene in which the lead actor has convinced the director to let him do a monologue about alcohol.

So besides being asked day in and day out to be driven places (bar the one time where one of the taxi drivers actually said "He doesn't take taxis" to a fellow cabbie) , I've really only been doing awesome and amazing things. And by that I mean the mostly average "I am a commuter" sort of thing. However, to make this summer reminiscent of past adventures, I again (Editor's note: See for example Kazakhstan, all the time) have been asked to drink hearty amounts of liquor by a relative of a friend.

Yes, Mr. Zhuo, my "uncle" here in Shanghai, while at lunch this past weekend was curious if I could drink more than three shots of liquor. Since I have never ever touched anything that even contains alcohol, I obviously couldn't and duly told him so. It was either that or "Of course, I'm in college" - things start to get a little hazy. Before things started to get particularly intense (e.g. 1.5 shots in), Mrs. Deng was like "wait, what are you giving him? BAI JIU (e.g. Maotai etc.) OH HEELLLL NAW." And with that we moved on to doing mini-shots of wine. This was either because this is the preferred way of drinking wine in China (perhaps) or because we were too lazy to get out glasses (likely).

Act 3. Scene 2. Viewer discretion advised, unless you're into this sort of thing.

One thing that has caught me off guard here this summer is not so much something surprising as a new thing, but rather, how I've become accustomed to China.

Take for example the fat man who runs on the treadmill in his underwear with the window open. For added impact, imagine him with me as you continue to read. On second thought, maybe just trust me on his description.

My years in China have progressed as such:

Of course, no offense to fat men on treadmills in their underwear. Unless that would make you close your blinds. Then offense. Offense to the highest degree. (Just lookin' out for the rest of y'all).

Act 3. Scene 3. Parry battles ninjas.

(To be written)


If you go far enough away get pretty things. Well, I don't mean to say there aren't pretty things in the city center. I mean, hell, on average I see .5 attractive commuters each day! (JK China, stay cute).