Saturday, October 4, 2014

Things Seen In Wuxi, September 2014

Things I have saw in Wuxi in September, 2014:

  • A School Master with a loud hailer supervising rows upon rows of uniformed school children doing mass calisthenics on the school playground.

  • Hair salon workers standing in file, outside the salon, being spoken to (harangued by?) their manager.

  • Street cleaners wearing the hats I normally associate with Vietnamese rice paddy farmers.

  • A local man wearing a polo shirt so that was partially rolled up so as to expose his midriff.

  • A male holding onto to the forearm of his female companion in a caveman manner. Instead of holding onto her hand, he had grabbed onto her forearm in order, it seemed to me, to pull her about like she was a recalcitrant child.

  • A young woman wearing a t-shirt on which was printed the word "pervert."

  • Three security guards rolling a traffic cop's pedestal from the center of the intersection of Zhongshan and Xueqian roads at about nine in the morning. Despite the fact that the intersection has traffic control lights, the powers that be still see a need for a policeman to direct traffic during rush hours. Interestingly, the guards, when rolling the pedestal to a corner, weren't paying attention to traffic and vehicles had to swerve to avoid colliding with them.

  • Two young men together on a bicycle. They dressed in identical white dress shirts, black pants, and dress shoes. One was standing as he turned the pedals, with a look of exertion on his face, as the other sat on the basket clamp over the rear wheel.

  • An old man with a very distinctive scowl on his face getting off a Wuxi Metro train. He moved slowly and was one of the last passengers to get to the platform exit.

  • A man with shoulder-length white hair crossing at a pedestrian pathway on Zhongshan Road. He is too far away from me for I to be able to determine his nationality.

  • At the shuttle bus station that is by the Wuxi Metro Yanqiao Station, there are long rows of potted flower beds that have been erected seven feet above ground. One day while riding the bus, I saw about ten workers, wearing those Vietnamese style farmer hats, in a row planting flowers in these beds. To see them seven feet in the air, was seemingly to see them at a new and heightened perspective.

  • A man standing on a corner with a large turtle hanging from a hook. I assume he was showing it off because he wanted to sell it.

  • A very wide sign. It was wide because the title printed on it was very long. The sign was so wide I would have had to stand in the middle of the road to capture all its width with my pocket camera. Piecing the title together from the two photos I had to take to capture all the words: the sign says: National Center of Supervision and Inspection on Preoduct Quality of Overhead Gantry Crane Machinery: Equipment Safety Supervision Inspection Branch of Jiangsu Province. (the spelling mistake was on the sign!)

  • Eight people on the entire Wuxi Metro Train at 815 PM on a Monday.

  • Waiting for the shuttle bus that takes me to the Subway Station, an old man walked past and was looking at me, studying me closely; and so I stared back, looking him straight in the eye after having given him the once over. I detected the corner of a laughing smile on his face as he had passed by me.

  • While waiting for the shuttle bus to take me home from the subway station, I was Daydreaming and so the driver honked the horn at me to get me to board. I would have been her only passenger.

  • Taking the shuttle bus one morning, I saw, at an intersection, a driver perform a very quick left turn off a fresh green and thus cut in front of the bus I was on which was attempting to proceed straight through the intersection from the opposite direction. This wasn't worth blogging about. It was the driver behind the first left-turning car doing the same maneuver that was. The second left-turning car wasn't actually stopped at the intersection when the light turned green but was approaching it at full speed. The driver as well wanted to make a left turn and not wait for the bus to go through the intersection. So, making the left turn at a high rate of speed, the car missed hitting the shuttle bus I was on by a foot!

  • On the subway, there was a baby without diapers. I didn't pay much attention to the baby and its family, but I couldn't help but notice that when they got off at a station that there was a puddle where they had been sitting. Jenny confirmed my suspicions that the baby had taken a piss.

  • Taking the subway home on a Friday evening, I saw there were a lot more passengers than usual and I had people sitting next to me. I was reading, flipping through, you could say, books on my Ipad. I noticed a male sitting on my left, stare at the screen full or curiosity as to what I was looking at. A male on sitting on my seemed to have done the same thing, but then I heard and felt him thump his head against the side wall of the train. Why he was doing this was a mystery to me. I took a glance at him and he didn't appear to be mad.

  • On a Saturday morning, I was walking to a bus stop and saw a row of black cars with pink bows tied to the front outside mirrors. Someone in my apartment complex was getting married I thought.

  • Next day, I see the same fleet of cars parked on the road outside our apartment. Someone says something and the drivers got in the cars and headed off somewhere. Maybe someone isn't getting married from the apartment I thought.

  • I saw myself on Wuxi Metro television. As I walked in the station, I saw the video that had been taken of me and the redoubtable Edith, a study assistant at my school, doing a commercial spot for our school. And I was wearing the same green khaki colored shirt that I wore recording the commercial and so I felt sheepish.

  • Walking near a Primary School as the students are about to go home, I see a man walking down the street with no shirt on. I needed to put something in this blog and that is all I saw. Of course, he did stand out, especially to me because I was in the mindset that it was autumn.

  • I saw a foreign woman at a Wuxi City Hall reception wearing a nice formal dress. It was long and had a low back. From behind, I was surprised to see she had a huge tattoo. Is that what is cool in the West? I have been away over ten years now so what do I know? The last time I was there and living there, tattoos were the fashion.

  • At the same reception, I saw a Japanese man wearing a suit and white shoes.

  • I was walking back to Casa Kaulins because I was not willing to stand and wait twenty minutes for a bus. On the way, I saw many outstanding examples of bad parking. Several cars were parked a meter from the curb, some cars were at 45 degree angles to the curb, and one car was was parked perpendicular to the curve. Its driver was going into the space between two cars that weren't parked in the center of the lined spaces.

  • But what really got to me about the road I was walking down wasn't the bad parking, but the hideous ugliness of the scene. Cars and pavement and trash and crumbling buildings and gray sky.

  • On the last day of September, I was walking down a street towards the McDonalds on the corner of Zhongshan and Xueqian Road. The Number Two People's Hospital was across the street. In quick succession, I suddenly heard the screeching of a car coming to a quick stop, the sound of a collision, and a collective gasp of people seeing what was happening. I turned to my right to the cause of the sounds and the gasps, and saw that a taxi had hit an electric bike. The e-biker was a woman and she was knocked off her e-bike so that she was sitting on the pavement, one leg straight on the ground and the other bent under her buttock. The accident happened at a spot on the road that was combination pedestrian crossing and car turning spot – Zhongshan Road otherwise has barriers dividing the opposing lanes of traffic. I have often tried to cross the road at that point and it is a place with a high probability of accidents because pedestrians and e-bikes and cars come into conflict. They all ignore each other. (And to think, if I hadn't decided to go to McDonalds, I would have been crossing at the spot where the accident happened.)

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