Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Leg 4 (China)- Non-Capp Thoughts

OK, let's go through the Assumptions/Cliches, and I'll try to find a Tenuous Anecdote to associate with it.

A/C. As a westerner, they'll make much of you.

TA. Oh yes. Mobbed as soon as we arrived in Ji Ning. The most heartening memories though were:
1) The elderly geezer that shyly asked his son to 'interview' me at the Forbidden City. My shrugged responses to 'WhayouthinkoChyner? You think Beijing wunnerful?' (sorry if that sounds in any way un-PC, it's not meant to) and posing for a quick photo prompted a long, grateful handshake from the old boy.
2) The middle aged boy in Xi'di who got one moody photo taken of himself in the old town hall, and then asked his wife to take another, as he edged close enough to get me in the picture.

3) After climbing most of the 1321 steps to the Celestial Providence Peak at Mt Huangshan, I was stopped by somebody I'd definitely never met before asking where my girlfriend was. She couldn't be arsed, I replied.

A/C. Chinglish slogans can be side-splitting.

TA. Aye- best t-shirt declaration I saw (from memory) was something like 'Ideas... For Creating Great Products With'. Props to the middle-aged wife/mother who walked about with 'Love Soldier' across her chest, and I was quite surprised that 'British Style' was worthy of pressing. To be fair to them, a lot of the self-aware sport tops that say 'We're Not Supposed To Be Fashion Leaders' though. You wouldn't know what's on any bloke's t-shirt, by the way, for whenever the temperature gets above room, this happens:

A/C. The hard sell will wear you down.

TA. After being flattered to the hilt (funny, handsome AND a hard bargainer?) by the ladies in Silk Street, you become somewhat wary of anyone trying to sell you something. On the way up Huangshan, one of the porters (witnessing 64p to walk up 1000m of steps with four cases of Tsingtao lager, I shall never complain about work again) offered us some wares, fairly insistently, from his pack. We didn't want any, and we resisted all the more as he shouted after us for fully five minutes waving a map at us. Only when we got half way up, with forks in the road and many peaks to negotiate, did we realise this was... our map....

A/C. The Chinese have very little facial hair.

TA. Yes, but they still have electric razors to sell. I've noticed the randomness the stallholders exercise in offering you something as you pass (potatoes have been strangely popular), and thought nothing of having a box marked 'Remington' waved at me, along with a packet of batteries. Then I remembered I had a really shit attempt at a beard going on, and he was actually passing on sartorial advice.

A/C. You'll eat something weird in China.

TA. Not too bad actually- nothing worse than duck brain (to my knowledge).

A/C. The Chinese have always been masters of innovation.

TA. Indeed- we had a morning of cormorant fishing in Dali, where they send the birds in to do the work, the fishermen picking the fish out of their tethered throats. Perhaps the fact we only snared three in an hour explains why it never caught on elsewhere.

A/C. The Chinese are imaginative when naming natural sights.

TA. More than enough. Wasn't overly convinced by 'Dragon Tree' (any tree with showing roots), 'Young Lovers' Trees' (two trees growing in close proximity) or the very up-to-date 'Mobile Phone Rock' (stone with aerial-esque protrusion out the top) spotted at Huangshan.

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