Friday, June 17, 2011

so much China.

I just feel compelled to share this image with you. It really doesn't get more 'China' than this.

 I was walking around the small lanes of Xintiandi yet again, and amazingly enough, I got lost, yet again. I ended up strolling down a particularly thin alley which was completely devoid of shopfronts, and so I realised that perhaps I had ventured too far. The ramshackled houses leaned inwards as the grew upwards, leaving me with only a thin slice of sunlight, but the silence was lovely and peaceful compared to the nearby shopping lanes. I was looking through windows into dining rooms of people's houses, and I'm sure I accidentally walked through someone's bicycle garage.

The small details were incredible. I was almost drooling at how cliche this whole area was. Original wrought iron detailing on the windows, big wooden doors with their original red licks of paint faded, rhythmic dripping from every rusting pipe, and a subsequent cool dampness which encouraged a lovely deep green layer of mould on almost all surfaces.

My pace had naturally slowed as I appreciated the surroundings, and I snapped a few pictures. The one you see here features a thick ceramic sink, sitting up sideways, on top of an old table, underneath someone's window. The original reason this mini-scene caught my eye was because I also use White-Cat (bai-mao) dishwashing liquid, but then I realised that the bamboo container beside it is the traditional dumpling steamer basket, and beside that is a small bowl made from traditional Chinese porcelain and pattern. The rust, the steel wool scrubber and the plastic bag are just about as 'everyday' in their nature as you can find in China. I really hope I am expressing myself clearly. To me, this is just such an incredibly information-filled image.

China is made of old men sleeping during siesta, women sweating away in steamy kitchens, children playing in the street, and an extreme attitutde of ordinariness toward extraordinary things that I have not previously encountered. Things like this really have more of an impact on my long-term memory than the big pagodas or the most sccenic parts of the great wall.

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