I got a preview of what flying home with Dolly will be like as we flew from Xi’an to Guangzhou today. Let me tell ya, it wasn’t pretty. To all the passengers of that China Southern flight, I’m so sorry. If I had the Yuan to do it, I would have bought you all drinks, because that sucked for everyone involved, myself included. Moving past it, I guess. My dad just landed in Hong Kong, which will mean an extra set of hands on the way home. Which will mean that I may get to pee alone. Maybe.
We flew to Guangzhou today. What a stark contrast it is from where I just was. I know Xi’an has a Starbucks, I drove past it once, but it never would have occurred to me to stop there. Xi’an felt like China in the most fundamental of ways. No one spoke English, well almost no one that I encountered. The history of the city is the essence of China. The food was very authentic Chinese, which at the time, made it feel just plain wrong to drink an iced skinny vanilla latte. When I walked into the Garden Hotel this afternoon with Dolly, after having bought her Pampers and Nestle formula at the local TrustMart (aka WalMart), it felt SO right to cross the street and suck down that $6 latte. I loved it. I relished it. I’ll probably do it again before I leave.
I’m conflicted about how I feel about that. I was sad, and more then a little lonely in Xi’an, but it was still amazing. For just a short time, I felt like I was really experiencing a little of China. Now, well, I feel a little like I’m experiencing a little of Las Vegas. The fountains, the Prada, the Gucci, it all feels very Vegas. As I walked to get my latte, there was a man digging through the trashcans of the 5 star hotel that I’m staying at, looking for anything of value.
Another stark contrast.
Outside of the Prada and the Gucci, there are people looking for my scraps. That feels so wrong. So, I tapped this man on the shoulder and handed him the equivalent of what my latte was about to cost me. He spoke quickly in Chinese, I have no clue what he said. He probably thought I was nuts. I shrugged, pushed his hand closed around the money and walked on.
At the time, it felt right.
who hopes the man wasn’t some sort of government employed trash sorter, because THAT would be awkward.