Friday, December 24, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Nanjing (southern capitol in Mandarin)---its a gritty urban/back alley with almost tropical trees city. There's a hazy pollution over the sprawl of big city towers, tiny shops & restaurants, street cooks, sidewalk bicycle menders and modern supermarkets. The alleyways that meander through the Nanjing University area are full of mopeds, bicycles, people on foot and cars honking their way through. For breakfast we went out for baozi at a small stall where the line runs over the tilted sidewalk into the street. The woman serving us clearly knew Virgil and recognized me as his Mom. Everyone seems amazed when I speak in Chinese. I've gotten good at pretending I understand everything they say. There are well-fed feral cats, wandering unattended (also well-fed and healthy) dogs and some beautiful blue birds with long flared tail feathers and black-capped heads. Last night there were a lot of tiny fires against the curbs--their coals pulsing red in the dark--Virgil said it might be because it was the winter solstice. The city has its own ordinary rhythm that is not that of NYC yet not utterly unfamiliar. The food is wonderful. Last night we went to a local place and I had delicate dumplings and a clear broth noodle and vegetable soup. For both of us dinner was 14 kuai (just over $2). At the table next to us several young women were discussing shuai ge (cute guys).