I haven’t mentioned China yet. There’s nothing sinister behind it, apart from the gruesomeness that is Lazy.
Some things that I remember:
M-dash-dash, my good woman-friend who I went there to visit, and I, were walking down a narrow backalley in a residential part of town at night. There was a little boy some way off who had just walked out of his house into the street. He had an orange monkey with velcro-attaching hands around his neck. He saw us walking side by side toward him and squealed at the top of his lungs. He ran back inside. As we were passing I took a peek in and he was standing right there waiting for us to pass. He squealed again but I could tell he was enjoying the horror.
We went to the nearest coast for a few days and one evening we were swimming at the beach around sunset. There was a slight swell and as a wave swished in it brought dozens and dozens of these tiny fish. They were jumping up out of the water and flicking about enough that we felt like we had to cover our faces. A second later they’d all zipped off again.
The people of southern china have some interesting cultural customs. One I like is rolling up your shirt. Generally for men only—even at this early part of what would have been spring, it was quite warm and humid. A lot of the year must be like that. So what do you do if you’re standing there on the street, with your mate, shooting the shit, wearing your polo shirt and feeling a bit hot? You roll up the front of it to just under yr tits, of course. It feels great, it looks… well, it looks different—to the overly-civilised westerner at least.
Speaking of fashion. Despite this where I was being in a largish city (approx 5mil) and there being roads and traffic lights and whathaveyou, occasionally I would still see a lone person walking straight down the middle of a busy road. On one occasion I saw this, and the person looked like he’d just time-jumped from 4000BC. He was dirty and his hair long and unkempt. His clothes where mud-coloured and his trousers weren’t really trousers at all. His trousers actually made him look like he could have been on a catwalk in Milan. They were ridiculous enough to be the next ultra-unreal fashion. Held up by a bit of rope and ripped all the way up the side so that they looked like some kind of 20C loincloth. Needless to say, I don’t think he was wearing underpants.
On the train in the dining car I sat opposite an old chap who ordered the fish. The fish came out as the whole thing, similar to how they do here in Korea. However the eating method employed pure logic and none of the quaint table manners people like me have been brought up with. The guy put the fish head in his mouth and over the next minute disengorged bones straight onto the tabletop.