Showing posts from October, 2013

Day 2: Shame is of Zero Yuan

October 19
I’m not much of a shopper, most definitely a weak bargainer.  And that put me at a severe disadvantage for today’s mission: to shop.  Since uncle was gracious enough to spend his Saturday taking us to a few choice malls and markets, we started the day with some mild hustling at the Chinese sabzi mandi.  Once again the sad, cute strays, trudging amidst heaps of beautiful looking vegetables: bright purple eggplant, perfectly crafted Chinese cabbage (which looks like fancy lettuce) and gigantic squash type green vegetables that weighed as much as a baby whale.  Or at least a baby human.
We bought enough vegetables to set up a small mandi of our own and as we drove off, I saw a lady holding her adorable baby in her lap, his butt exposed to the world, and almost as disturbingly, to the vegetables all around her.  I hoped she was just airing his baby behind and not mistaking the middle of her cabbage stall for a bathroom cubicle.  
We passed more crumbling walls, dusty, potholed r…

Day 1: Laughing in Chinese

October 18
Who goes to China? I suppose 26-year-old women about to lose their free PIA tickets (to the joys of marriage).  It was really my parents’ idea and I acquiesced to it (the most aptly I have ever used the word ‘acquiesced’!).  It is a seven-day affair and we are staying at my dad’s friend’s house.  He lives here alone while his family lives in Pakistan and therefore has plenty of space to spare.
According to my dad who is visiting after at least 20 years – and general knowledge around the world – Beijing has transformed drastically.  The airport was impeccable, systematic, quiet, neat.  The sweet immigration officer barely looked at our faces as he stamped us through.  Is it because he doesn’t know English or because he assumes we don’t? I wondered but gave him a ‘greatly satisfied’ rating.  There were Likert-scale rating buttons outside each cubicle! 
Stepping out into Beijing, even at the airport, it felt like I had suddenly lost the ability to read.  There was hardly any En…


October 4
I saw a fake nail in the gym today.  It was lying all alone by a yoga mat and two 4kg weights and although I am no expert, I am positive that the pink, plasticky-fingernail shaped object was a fake fingernail (at least I hope it was fake).  And it just really bummed me out.  And then it reminded me of how Myra and I didn’t get our Greece visa.  I’m not sure how my brain made the association between the fallen nail and our dashed hopes of bare feet burrowing in white sands and sneakered-treks to the Acropolis… maybe cause the nail bummed me out and not getting the visa bummed me out and all bummy thoughts are shoved together on the same shelf inside my mind? (Of course it is organized inside there.  I alphabetized my books for crying out loud.)
Or maybe the forlorn nail reminded of the word ‘rejection’.  Nobody likes that word.  In fact, we are terrified of it – it makes our stomach plunge, gives us nightmares, aims for our confidence and self-esteem like Mohammad Ali aiming f…