Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Happy National Day

Communist China is 59 years old today.  The whole country is  (Well except for the retailers). In fact yesterday, September 30, was the equivalent to the U.S. After-Thanksgiving Sale, although more of a Pre-national Day Sale--shop first, celebrate (by shopping more) later  vs. eat first, shop later.  Everything is discounted, so everyone is out and about with their cash. And the mood is good:  Chinese astronauts just finished a successful space mission and China owns a huge part of the U.S. debt and counting.  The financial fiasco has overshadowed China's milk scandal; it seems shattered financial confidence causes more anxiety than corrupted product confidence.

When I was last in China in 1985, it was the tourists that had all the consumption power.  I joked to my friend Larry Salmon (a jolly, red/white/blue old coot with a red-blushed face, a shock of white hair and the bluest of eyes) that the then leader of China, Deng Xiaoping, was actually a pneumonic for the tourists:  Done Shopping?

Speaking of off, I have six days without classes to teach AND my apartment is offline, meaning the last rainstorm has fussed with my internet connection.  Or maybe something I'm viewing online is off limits.  (I have that 'shitty or censorship?' paranoia:  is it the third-world infrastructure, or is it a content block?).  Either way, it's a break from the ether and the falling financial sky.  
Traffic will be awful--everyone is headed out of town, either going home or to a scenic vacation spot.  Extra trains are running--of course Beijing is the #1 destination, what with a grand Nest and waterworks Cube.  News reports that parking spots are hard to come by in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.  I decide to book hotels in different parts of the city and have a good, live tour by myself, taking in the sites, its people, their habits, their celebrations, their consumption.  It'll be totally spontaneous (not having to board the suburban bus back home every night) and I'll be free to go anywhere I like, when I like.  Absolutely no appointments, except with the City of Shanghai, and where she leads me.

Happy National Day!

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