Saturday, January 31, 2009

Different shades of grey

Lately I've been putting up postings that have everything to do with everything else - but China. Truth be told, there's not much happening at the moment. Here in Chengdu it's grey, foggy, grey, cold, grey, misty, grey, cold and several more shades of grey. The other day the sun showed it's face for a day and my son woke up and immediately asked "What's all that light?!" After Chinese New Year's Eve when our world exploded in fireworks more fireworks are let off every night, but daytime is spent inside near something warm. Two days ago we actually ventured beyond our compound and discovered that most of the neighborhood had decided to do the same thing. Nearby Jinli Street was buzzing with activity, chock-a-block full of people that had had enough of being cooped up with the relatives, watching Tv and eating eight kinds of auspicious nuts and candies. We forged our way through the bodies and ate a few snacks and gladly headed home again, overwhelmed by so much humanity in the same tight space. 

Most of the shops on our street are closed, the shopkeepers and salespeople having gone home to their villages or hometowns - or some just taking a well-deserved break from the daily humdrum. The hairdressers, on the other hand, are still open, but all their clients seem to be Tibetans. This year the Tibetan New Year starts later than the Chinese celebration so they are still in preparation. Non-tibetans already got their new "doo-s" before the new year began. 

People home with time on their hands are out walking their dogs a lot these days. Some dogs are stroppy little things, all dolled up in special little doggy winter clothes, with appliqued bones on their backs. Other dogs are huge creatures, English sheep dogs or Bernese mountains dogs, clearly unsuitable for Chengdu's hot, humid summer climate but happier than the rest of us during the cold winter. Coming back from Jinli we came across a monkey on the street. He seemed to be as interested in his first glimpse of foreigners as we were of him. He stuck his tongue out at us and uncontrollaby we did the same back at him. And speaking of animals, all the roosters we heard crowing for several weeks on our neighbors balconies have all been mysteriously quiet since the New Year began. I fear that they will not be heard from again...

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