Beijing China — if the pollution doesn’t kill you, then you will be hit by a car. But you are going to get killed, so don’t worry about that man next to you in the bus, or the train, picking his nose until kingdom come, and pasting the remains on the poll, or the seat you will sit in next. You have more important things to worry about, like does this gas mask matches my pink flower dress?
Beijing- China: Imagine going to a public toilet and seeing someone in their Pj’s squatting down doing their bowel business, while playing a game on their really expensive phone, you start asking what is poverty. What defines poverty? Who defines it?
Beijing, China —- If you happen to be in the city and hear a hacking cough, that sounds like the person’s lungs is being vomited, don’t worry, they are not dying as yet, they are experiencing the Beijing furball. Here, men cough up the fur-ball all the time and like a yawn, the hacking sound is contagious. When one person cough, another one down the street follows. You can’t compare the fur-ball to any sounds but if death had a sound, perhaps. Visit an old person center and listen to one of them coughing in the night time. Yep… that’s the Beijing furball
Today I am channeling my inner gay male: snap fingers, toss scarf over shoulder, side-eye on queue, lips puckered, “don’t mess with a Diva!”
I was going to turn back and run to the metro station when my potential housemate took me to the apartment building. It looked like a crack house, mater of fact, crack heads would be ashamed of doping up in this building. The hallways were dark and dingy, it smelled like urine (but that’s the Beijing smell) and there were no front door to the building or working lights throughout. We exited on the seventh floor and I thought some five-year-old Chinese tug would come from some corner and knife-me-up. I held my handbag, while the French girl sauntered. We turned another corner and walked up to the eight floor; the lift runs on odd numbers. I heard a noise and I jumped. I thought a bag lady was coming after me, but it was an old man going into his apartment. “Don’t worry,” Julie said, “In China all the apartment buildings are dodgy looking. In France, if you live in a place like this expect the elements but in China this is good living.” I bit my lip and nodded. If my mother knew I was living in a place like this she would ask Jesus to deliver me. Julia opened the door to the apartment and I stepped into another world: Narnia? The apartment was clean, spacious and the smells from outside did not waft in. I stood by the front door fearful to walk further into the apartment, fearful that the reality of outside might come in.
Not sure what this is but it tasted great! All this meal needed was some herb goat cheese. Yum
Yesterday I went to a Brazilian Film Festival in Beijing with a French guy I met once at an art gallery in New York City. It’s dizzying to be in four continets in one evening, but somehow the randomness of the world feels right.
Medical check-up Chinese style
In order for me to teach in China I have to get a medical check-up from a Chinese doctor here in Nanjing. I already received a medical check-up
from an American doctor in order for me to get my visa, but according to the Chinese this was not good enough. My second day in Nanjing, I went to a clinic which seem more like a medical buffet.
The scene: A sheet of paper with a check list of different rooms I have to go into. I would be prodded and poked, then the doctor would sign off on my paper and I would go to another room to be prodded and poked.
I arrive at my first stop - The EKG Room where I was instructed by the nurse and her assistant to take off my bra so she could attach something on my breast. I follow their orders.
Giggles ensue. Lots of giggles. Even the female doctor giggle. They point at my breast, giggle some more and spoke about it, not in whispers as to
be expected, but loud enough, so even if I didn’t speak the language I could understand.
I’m transported back to my high school gym class. The locker room, the girls walked around critiquing each other’s bodies, the roar of giggles when someone didn’t measure up.
Back to Nanjing: My body stiff, my lips press hard; I pretend they are aliens.
The giggling ladies switch to another subject, perhaps my brown skin, perhaps their morning commute, or perhaps they spoke about their boyfriends.
I remain silent, projecting my mind outside the room: If the next medical buffet should examine my inverted legs, and they giggle, I will be sent on a journey of tears.
They take the things off me. I peel myself from the makeshift bed, it is cold, made of steel and a chiming sound is heard when my sliver bracelets knock against it. I put on my bra and thank them because I want to be a pleasant foreginer. They bow and I took a peep at their breast - puberty hadn’t greeted them.
As I approach the next stoic doctor, I thought that perhaps they were just mesmerise, wanting something they didn’t have.
I have an emergency plan if a fire ever breaks out in a crowded place and I am the first to see the flames. I calmly walk away from the crowd and yell, “There’s an American with a gun.” I think people would not question me, and they would run with more haste than if you yell, “fire”. I also have a set of emergency plans if my life gets stuck: move abroad via a job, get a writing fellowship or marry a benevolent dictator who enjoys long walks in the park and the genteel type of ethnic cleansing.
I was sitting in my Brooklyn apartment trying to find creative ways to pay my rent and considering my local crackhead’s business proposition about me becoming a woman of the night. I decided to become an apprentice street walker, but after four hours of walking up and down the avenue with super high heels, my back was sore, I was still broke and I realized being a sex worker was pretty mundane.
He walks up or comes
up to you in his car.
You both negotiate the price.
Then sex takes place, not good or bad sex, just sex.
So, I decided to break open my never used, in case of emergency plans, and I chose option one. It was too late to apply for fellowships and since the economic downturn, dictators were being conservative with getting additional wives. So, I applied to over forty teaching jobs all over the world, including Syria. I had pretty standard interviews, except when I was interviewed by a zombie over at the Disney Corporation in China. After one month of job hunting, Okay, two months, I found a blinged-out job in Beijing, China. It’s not really a blinged-out job, but if I use the phrase in relation to work, I might get excited about being a wage slave.
Who I be:
Fiction Writer, Cyclist, Smoothie Enthusiast who is currently residing in Beijing, China.