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The Magical Little Tibetan Guy

Wuhan, China


Monday September 14th.

Yesterday I bought a bicycle for 50 yuan. (Molly paid 300 for hers in Beijing. Boo yeah!) I purchased my fancy ride from a little Tibetan magical guy, who is around my age. He is an exceptionally talented pool player, and it was a privilege to watch him play. For several games in a row, he waited patiently for me to get one or two balls in, before clobbering me in about two turns. Unfortunately, since I lost my eyesight and felt all of the symptoms of a migraine headache coming on, I eventually decided to declare myself the loser of the night. Because he is magical, as I accompanied him back to his apartment, the little Tibetan guy's demeanor, his words, and the cool night air were so refreshing that they soothed my burgeoning headache, and caused it to subside for a time. Taylor, (that is his English name), invited me up to his apartment, which seemed from the outside to be located in a run-down, slummy building of questionable integrity. But when he opened the door to his humble abode, we were greeted by a house as modern as in any American catalog. The living room was floored with shiny, intricate tiles, and housed three comfortable couches as well as a hearth, built into a section of modern refinished stone wall. The rest of the house was equally elegant. Taylor showed me to a seat, and disappeared for a few seconds, to return with what looked like several gumballs. He told me they were Yak-jerky from Tibet. Although I tasted them and discovered they were delicious, when I found out they could not be purchased in Wuhan I firmly refused to accept the additional handfuls he tried to press into my palms. Then we went to look at his bicycle. I have been inquiring about bicycles since I arrived, because they seem to be an especially efficient way to get around the city. As I mentioned, he sold the bike to me for 50 yuan, and even included a dirty all purpose rag. After a bit of fixing up and pimping out, I think my new ride will be perfect. It is a small one-speed ladies bike of the sort that even in China, no one could conceive of stealing. ...and it came with a lock!

Tuesday September 15th
This morning I found a place to get my bike fixed for the sum of 5 Yuan. But after forty-five minutes of work and clear honesty, I insisted on paying six. I felt so generous. Now that I have procured a set of wheels, I feel I have been set free. I explored the neighborhood, and found a market with fresh vegetables and other interesting merchandise. (See the pictures).

Friday September 18th
Nice! On Wednesday... an abandoned outdoor climbing wall was found! Unfortunately, by day the area is guarded by security men who wouldn't let me climb it for my own safety. I will have to go back and climb it by night, when the security is thinner and they can't see me.
On Thursday, as to be expected my presentation didn't turn out that great, but it doesn't really matter. I guess the head honcho didn't have the same idea as I did about flexible interactive teaching styles. Oh well.
Today, Karen and another one of her friends took me to visit “Hankou,” which is considered to be the “commercial” city, of the three cities comprising Wuhan. We went under the pretext of looking for a climbing wall, but I think that Karen was actually more interested in going shopping at Wuhan Plaza, the biggest mall in Wuhan. While Karen and her friend shopped, I enjoyed visiting the toy store, playing some random video game at an arcade, riding the escalators up and down, and the myriad other entertaining activities that are available in giant malls.

Monday, September 21st
On Saturday I decided it would be a good idea to ride my bike to Hankou, since I wanted to have it there for a while to explore the area. On my way to work, just as I was about to get on the Bridge to cross the Yangtze river, I saw a naked Chinese man. For a brief instant I saw him wearing a shirt and adjusting a camera on a tripod, and then suddenly he removed his shirt to reveal his stark nakedness. He placed himself in front of his camera, hurriedly began doing push-ups on the landing of a busy access flight of steps for pedestrians going up to cross the bridge. I wonder why he wanted to film himself doing naked push-ups on the steps leading to the Yangtze bridge? Thirty yards after seeing the naked guy on the steps, I passed a police officer who was chatting calmly with a friend. He seemed fairly oblivious to the naked guy.
I got lost, (in spite of my map,) and the ride to work took me about an hour and a half, instead of the hour I was anticipating. In the midst of sky-scrapers and the bustling city of Hankou I was fortunate enough to happen to stop to look at my map at just the right place, and then to happen to be accosted by a friendly Chinese lady who happened to speak English and who happened to know exactly where the New Oriental School was located. She showed me where I was on the map, and told me to go straight down a little side-street until I would pretty much dead-end into the school. I got there two minutes later, but I was still twenty-five minutes late to my first day of work. Too bad Chinese are PUNC-TU-AL. Hmm... doing great Noah...
Since my Chinese co-partner was not very outgoing to recruit interviewees, we spent the day watching his favorite wrestling movies and South Park. He also showed me where I could get my treasured Corsican sandals fixed for 10cuay, as well as where the French ambassador lives in Wuhan. There is a decent French population people here, because one of France's super-store chains, (Carrefour), has managed to establish itself successfully in the area.

permalink written by  smartwater on October 19, 2009 from Wuhan, China
from the travel blog: The easy way. Wuhan, China, fall 2009
tagged ALittleMagicalTibetanGuy

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