Sunday, November 22, 2009

Red, white and green
As someone with a rather experimental tendency when it comes to food, it is a delight to have such an excellent variety here in Guangzhou. I live near a very average small-scale supermarket, and yet I can get the most delicious things: mangosteens, dragon fruit and chinese mountain yams. They have plentiful beans and mushrooms; nuts and grains. Cooking dinner (and leaving some for lunch) is never a problem.
And you need to keep healthy in the city. Pressures push us everywhere, and sometimes it surges us places faster than we could ever imagine. Well, that is the case on the subway at rush hour. My lord! When everyone needs to catch the train at the same time, you'll catch it whether you like it or not, and if you don't catch it, you won't be catching anything for half an hour. There is a logic there that can be understood after close study of the physics of sunspots, solar flares and the solar wind. Fortunately, on Tuesday when we did go at rush hour the surge was strong enough for both me and my orientation friend to squash onto the train.
And even when you're not at peak the pressure remains: Beep; beep; beep; SHRIEK! That was the sounds transcribed in Jiangnanxi station on Tuesday night as a girl did a feet-first long-jump style leap to make the train before the fourth beep announcing the rapid shutting of the doors. She and her trailing shoulder bag made it by millimetres before the jaws of the doors drew shut. Fortunately the door on the other side was shut for she would have passed right through at that speed.
The general foreigners here are a strange bunch. I noticed this in the past too. As a person who makes eye contact with pretty much anyone with their eyes up coming the other way, I reckon that foreigners avoid my eyes much more than the locals. I think only one pedestrian foreigner has done anymore than dash their eyes away. I gave him a polynesian chin-raise with a polite smile; he smiled back.
But then, apart from my colleagues (who seem like a good bunch), I think I'll try and give foreigners a polite distance anyway. I went to meet a relation of a friend last night and fell right into a pocket of westernism, swedes, germans and a British-born chinese playing a game of Risk with beer; it was strangely uninteresting.
A week has passed since I arrived and it feels like at least a month. I'm on the verge of agreeing on an apartment; my work is falling into place (I'm chomping at the bit to begin, in all honesty); the weather is still rather agreeable; and I'm watching a horror movie on public TV: Awesome.

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