Mask-itations

In the season of political screaming thought, I thought you could use a distraction for a few minutes.

Here are some of the most significant images and thoughts from my month in China this past summer.*

These are some things to meditate on. With a mask, if you so choose.


“Blue” Skies

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“Smogset”

I grew up in Los Angeles before smog tests were required by law for all cars. I was basically taught that all free oxygen came “chunky style”. I knew how to cut it with a knife and fork.

I know what smog is.

What I saw and breathed in China…blew. my. mind.

Morals of the story:

  1. If you can see stars, count them.
  2. This planet really is in trouble, and we really should do something about it.

Oops, I got off track from the escapism!

Sorry. Back to it.


Eyeing that finger food

The food was mostly very good, but some of it required a very adventurous approach.

MY definition of adventure is normally defined by trying the nonorganic kale just for a change. Eyeballs floating around the top of the soup are a different story.

Chia comes to China

When Americans walk around China in the middle of summer, it takes about 12 seconds to be completely drenched in sweat. I mean completely from head to toe drenched in sweat.

Adding to this delightful feeling and appearance, I in particular had an added bonus. The humidity made my hair stand up like little bolts of lightning. Between  clothes sticking to me like superglue and having my hair looking like an exploding supernova, nobody bothered me. I’ve never felt so powerful being exactly who I am!

It wasn’t like that every day though. When it was a dryer heat, I had mellower hair shaped like a Chia Pet.**

Oh, and sometimes I wore my mask just to tie it all together.

Chinese women, however, are indestructible. They are usually wearing silk dresses, heels, and full makeup. They dress in gorgeous fabrics, vibrant colors, and seem to float at whatever they’re doing, including hiking mountains.

Most impressive: not one drop of sweat shows on them. Ever.


 Vanity redefined

American “kids these days” are vain and self-absorbed. They take pictures of themselves while standing in the middle of crowded intersections. They pay no heed to the world around them.

If you agree, I have news for you. We They are actually totally normal.

In the resort town of Qingdao, this (anonymous) woman was standing on the boardwalk like this for about 45 minutes.2016-06-22 16.41.42.jpg

I noticed this because I happened to also be standing there for 45 minutes. I stopped taking selfies after 30 minutes. Feeling shown up, I joined in for a #SelfieofaSelfie.

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 Personal space

A common sight in China is rows upon rows of countless, nearly identical buildings, all nestled into tight packs, and all the size of some of America’s sky scrapers. Each of these compounds must house several thousand people.

Sometimes, individual buildings were so impressive that I stared at them for long periods of time with my mouth agape. China, a developing country, is reaching into the future at a very fast rate.


 5 stars

While we’re on the topic of buildings, let’s talk about the definition of “ratings” in China.

I didn’t say I knew about this topic; I just said let’s talk about it.

Basically, some 5-star hotels were like this:

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And others were like this:

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Not seen here: roaches, mice, mold, mosquitos, gang beatings outside the lobby, and more! 

Public art

On Zhoushan Island, there is an International Sand Sculpture Festival.

Serendipitously, we showed up right in the middle of it. Here’s a panorama of several sand sculptures each the size of a small house. Pretty amazing!

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You can interpret this one however you like.

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Perspective

The city of Chongqing, located in China’s Sichuan region, has about 30 million people. That’s more people than Beijing and more than Shanghai (arguably the two most “famous” China metropolises). That’s even more than New York–and by New York, I mean the ENTIRE STATE of New York. Chongqing is also larger than the states of Texas or Florida.

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Bad translating no matter, here lesson is

I’ll just leave these right here.

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*Yes, it’s been nearly five months since the month-long tour ended, and yes, I’m still talking about it! Read more about it here, here, and here.

**No, photos of my China/chia hair are available at this time.

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