17 September 2009

Beijing was ominous.

The Great wall was an out of body experience; I’d write about it more, but how do you write about something that has survived through centuries, where dynastic armies patrolled their country’s borders, where millions of tourists come each year to see the snaking curves of stone along the crests of the surrounding mountains?  How do you write about the space, the calm that descends on your mind as you trudge up the uneven stairs even through a claustrophobic crowd of pushing people? There’s a reason it’s one of the seven wonders of the world.

Now, I am settled in Qufu.

It’s about midnight.  I can’t sleep.  I’m listening to the crickets outside—the city has finally gone to bed, except the bugs and the cats in heat.  One cricket, as long as my thumb, plump and hopping, has found its way into my apartment.  It’s a little disturbing wondering how it accomplished this (what other things are lurking in the darker corners and crevices of this place that doesn’t quite contain the comforts of American households, yet?).  I just hope that, unlike the endless numbers of mosquitoes, it won’t keep me awake.  However, tonight, it might not be the bugs, rather the cats.  Well, who am I to deprive them of their companionship, when here I am with only my keyboard to make love to?

I feel like I should have a low ball glass of scotch beside me and a half burned cigarette that needs to be ashed hanging out of my mouth, right now.  There are a few problems with this “feeling.”  Fist, there is no good scotch or any alcohol for that matter to be found in Qufu.  Second, even if there was, I don’t really like scotch.  Third, I never really liked cigarettes either except the image they suggest of a complex-artist/writer-woman defying gender stereotypes by being deeply engrossed in her creative work, half way around the world.  I think I need to stop watching so many movies.

Also, I actually thought about how that last paragraph was a “listing” paragraph, something I just tried to teach my students about today, but to no avail because even though they write beautiful English, when it’s spoken they can’t understand it for shit.

When Allie and I went for our run today, the only things we talked about were lesson plans and how to get our students excited about homework.  And to think that one can talk about these subjects with so much gusto! Oh, we did indeed.

So, welcome to China.  Welcome to the world where the description on your shower soap reads:

“French romantic hippocampus rich perfume essence and nourish a variety of components, which can effectively eliminate the sweat Taste, improve rough skin, moisten pay, so that smooth sky, enhance skin elasticity, the skin smooth after bathing such as silk, the dissemination of the charming, elegant, romantic atmosphere, so that more women soft, so that Man is more taste…Bubble-rich delicacy, delicate fragrance and elegant, bringing its refreshing, light Song pleasant bath new feel!”

No editing.  No joke.  I guess this is why I am here, but gosh…is there any hope??

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