Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Notes from trip to Beixin

April 30, 2012

I am in Beixin for the May Day holiday. I won't be here for long. We, that be the wife and son and me, will stay but one night.

The bus ride here was pleasant enough. I read a book and then listened to podcasts on my IPod. The view from the bus was grand. I saw the Yangtze, green countryside, tombs decorated with brightly-colored flowers and so many people. "Soak it in and remember it all for when you return to Canada!" I told myself.

I have bought Tony a toy truck. Every time I come to Beixin, I buy him a toy at a shop which is across the street from my wife's old school.

I have tried to take Tony for two walks. On the first one, I bought him the toy. It was a bribe to get him to accompany me farther than a block from the inlaws' compound. He doesn't like exploring at this stage of his life development. And as soon as he got the toy, he wanted to go back to the compound. Inexplicably, I took him on a second walk. I had intended to go it alone, but Tony wanted to come along. He immediately then wanted to tell me where to go. I went my way, and the locals were treated to the sight of a foreigner carrying, on his shoulders, a whining and bawling toddler. Tony, in fact, cried the entire walk.

The third walk of the day, I did go by myself on a potato chip purchasing mission. Tony wanted them. As I walked to a store, a trio of kids started jumping up and down like monkeys at the sight of me. As they kept circling me, I got annoyed and eventually told the chubby one of the trio to "f" off. They left me alone after that. I don't know how what I did went over with them. They may or may not have understood me. If they did, how they understood is a question that can't be clearly explained. They may have left me alone because I left their zone of wandering.

May 1

Went on one more walk yesterday. It was Tony's idea. Following his directions, we went to the toy store. He got another toy, an orange digger machine, after I told him for twenty minutes that I wouldn't buy it for him. He cried and cried, Tony did, till I agreed to buy it. I was then able to go back to the compound without carrying Tony on my shoulders. He sensed then that he had to give something back to Dad. I don't think I have ever before taken a walk with Tony without him insisting on being carried.

While having my battle of will with Tony at the shop, I saw one of the annoying trio of kids. "Hey Englishee!" he yelled at me. I tried to ignore him. But it was hard to do because he was so loud and determined to show me he could speak English. He entered the shop and spoke the English words for some items on the shelves. As he was doing this, I decided to buy Tony the orange digger. Tony and I then quickly left the store and returned to the compound.

I later recalled another instance when I heard a foreigner being called "English." It was in the great film Lawrence of Arabia.

I have watched four episodes of Breaking Bad. What else is there to do? It is now raining heavily.

Sent from my iPod

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