22 September 2002

mood indigo

yesterday was marked by two special occasions - the chinese moon festival and Shea's (aka Heather Springer's) birthday. the moon festival (and please correct me if i'm wrong, those of you more heavily knowledgeable of chinese culture) is a holiday in which families reunite, eat a lot, and watch the moon at its fullest. the big delicacy at this time is mooncakes, which are thick pastries stuffed to the hilt with gooey sweet . . . goo. a few friends and i decided that mooncakes would make great trail food and we should remember to bring some hiking with us if we can only get our hands on them between festivals. of course, this is all assuming that they don't turned into the hardened oversized hockey pucks i envision given a week of air and mysterious nonpreservative evolution. mooncakes could become the basis for the next in a long line of extreme olympic sports, and i wonder if i could make a suggestion to the 2008 beijing committee to this purpose. can you buy stock in chinese companies? i put all my money in pastry manufacturers. all 200 yuan of it.

Shea enjoyed one of the two main birthday traditions it has been my pleasure to witness here in china, and that is the Candle That Never Ends. it is a plastic version of a lotus flower that, when stuck on a huge white cake and lit in the middle, opens up into numerous candle-festooned petals. there is then a flash in the middle and "happy birthday" squealed eternally and excrutiatingly. this ear-rending natal salutation is powered by a battery that could solve the energy crisis. you can imagine why birthdays are so memorable here. the other long-lived tradition to which our dear shea was not subjected was the birthday noodle, a torturously long and truck-lane wide noodle that could be used to repave broadway. it is supposedly bad luck to break the noodle while eating, but i have as yet only seen one person slurp the whole thing down. either good luck is not dependant on the birthday noodle, or only one person within my circle of friends lives untouchable.

golly, what else has happened recently? since i'm not sure if anyone will ever read this, i feel as though any typed meanderings will just find themselves spiralling through an unobserved vacuum like sputnik. i have daydreams of neal stephenson randomly finding my prosed spacejunk and going "hmmmm . . . interesting." if you're reading this, neal, i loved "zodiac".
i promised i would talk about the russian-speaking chinese woman and being run over by a motorbike, but i would rather close this entry with last night's phonecall. i get numerous phonecalls from people trying to contact my landlord. last night's was the most rigorous and loquatious (sp?) of all the inquirers, and i thought it was because i was tired and dressed in my sarong pajamas and reading "the diamond age" again (another neal stephenson reference) and therefore not prone to discussion. but as it turns out he kept talking because he thought i was chinese! he must have been REALLY tired or been kind of gone on baijiu not to notice my tendency to ask him to repeat everything he said, but i took it as a compliment anyway. right before i dozed off with the beautiful girl in the moon to watch over me.

that's all from me. hope all is well with you.

No comments: