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Post by LADIES AND GENTLEMEN on Sun 05 Apr 2009, 3:21 pm

So today is the one year anniversary of the day I left for china. (Illie april 5th.)

I've been reminiscing a lot lately. We went out for chinese food on friday night (I actually ended up getting japanese tempure fritters because of the lack of vegetarian chinese but you know) and I stole Mandy and Damo's bubble tea and sculled sweet soy sauce (fun times for all) and now I'm sitting here thinking about it.

Right now I was in Singapore airport, crying and cutting myself. But lets not dwell on that.

China itself is beautiful. It really hit me when we got off the bus at Tiananmen Square. After breathing my first breath of wonder, I remarked 'The air is full of mist!'

'That's not mist', my friend Kevin told me. 'That's pollution.'

It doesn't sound like the introduction of fairytales, but to me it was a match made in heaven. I don't see beauty like most people do. For me, it wasn't the thousand year old temples that struck a chord, it was the dark, grey sky. It was the dense, crowded infrastructure, the urban decay, the dirt. The dirt was everywhere. Bikes lined the streets, and if there was a car in sight, it was old and falling to pieces. Now I understood why the friends I had who had immigrated had looked upon Australia in such awe - because it's like stepping into a different world.

The poverty of the place hit me so hard it near literally knocked the breath out of my lungs. People ducked and turned and swerved in every direction, thrusting everything imaginable at us in hopes of making even a single sale. I didn't buy much - often I'd just hand out ten yuan at a time and tell them to keep their goods. I mean, I had money to burn, and they fucking needed it; who was I to be selfish?

China is the wrecked, disturbed kind of beauty you picture when you hear the word 'dystopia'. It's what I pictured when I read 1984 and what I have in mind when I think about taking photos or making movies. I lost so many of the photos I took there and I regret not taking more, because so few people saw it for what I did. Yes, the history is amazing, the sights beautiful, but it was the culture I was interested in. The world. The people. While my classmates ignored the horrors before them, I seeked them out. I catalogued and photographed everything swept under the tourist rug, everything they didn't want us to know was wrong with the place, and I loved it all the more for those things.

I miss it. A lot. Hugely. So much.

I know I'm going to go back there someday. I don't know exactly what I'll do - maybe I'll learn more Chinese (I've forgotten most of it, after a year) and work for a while as a tour guide, if music doesn't work out. Maybe if music does work out, I can spend some time there on tour.

But honestly, it's definitely somewhere I'd suggest visiting. It puts you so much in touch with how lucky we are to be living in western society. The people there were some of the most wonderful, welcoming human beings I've ever met. It was amazing to be immersed in such a different culture for almost a month.

So I shall leave you with some of the few photos I did manage to recover.

Wo ai zhong guo 15hiq1l
Chinese graffiti

Wo ai zhong guo 15hidj
I loved the powerboxes/powerlines.

Wo ai zhong guo Ifq51k
More powerboxes; how awesome does this thing look?

Wo ai zhong guo 2r5u5g6
Compare: The flats in the background, to the power system, to the huge skyscraper next to it. See why I love this place now?

BRB other computer.

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Post by Adrisole Q. Kazoo on Tue 07 Apr 2009, 5:03 am

Those photos are really beautiful. (:
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Post by LADIES AND GENTLEMEN on Wed 16 Sep 2009, 8:41 pm

It's funny because I did the same thing tonight, except I stole chris's bubble tea and icksnayed on the soy sauce because mandy stole some and the rest ended up getting poured into a bowl with rice, wasabi and gravy. om nom nom c:

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Post by Galileo Figaro on Fri 18 Sep 2009, 7:53 pm

I've been to Tienanmen too. The guards on duty unnerved me a bit; it was a bit unsettling to be somewhere that the government thought something bad could happen at any moment.

Did you go to the Hutongs? Each house consists of one room, and they have to walk to this communal bathroom shared by people in the neighbourhood. Part of our tour included having lunch at one of the Hutongs, and the group was so large, my sister and I had to sit on the elderly couple's bed because there wasn't enough space. It was...depressing, to say the least.
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Post by LADIES AND GENTLEMEN on Fri 18 Sep 2009, 8:36 pm

No, our school group was intent on making it seem like everything there was peachy keen wonderful and nothing bad ever happened. I saw people with no limbs, I saw starving children. they weren't fooling anyone.

what really upset me though is that we ALL saw these things - but 9 out of ten people refusued to let themselves care.

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