Oct 17 2010

The naked ..

It was a hot and sticky night in Ningbo 宁波 (ning bo means Tranquil Waves), a seaside little town in northeastern of Zhejiang province, or 280 km (174 mi) south of Shanghai, with little over 2 million inhabitants. After the museum, I went to the Drum Tower, and basically ate myself to death: two meals plus taro drink in two hours. Then went to check out a sporting store for tennis balls because Sheraton has a carpet court and they provide equipments: two rackets a a bag of used balls. The nature thing to do was to buy a can of balls. It cost RMB38 per can, about US$5.5 (at 6.8 exchange rate). I must have winced. The salesgirl immediately took out a plastic bag loaded with new lose tennis balls with brands I’ve never heard of.
“Wu yuan.” 5 yuan each.
I was somewhat incredulous to see new balls being taken out of the cans. Oh well, I’m only a frog in the well.
South of 余姚江 Yuyao River and 丰化江 Fenghua River where they converge with Yong River 甬江 is the city center. Ningbo is building a subway, and 中山东路 Zhongshan East Road is obviously part of the loop. 和义路 Heyi Lu/Road to my right is the new 5th Avenue where spacious and glittering Louis Vuitton leads the way. Behind the mall’s the water front of Yuyao river. Crossed over ZhongShan Dong Lu is the colossal shopping compound, Tianyi Square 天一广场. Note: the world is flat, really. It gets trite that everywhere you go, you see the same brands back here in the USA, they differ only in currency. American influence is undeniable but how long it is going to be?
It’s the Reagan creed: America’s best days are still to come. It’s exactly how I felt when I first got here, back in 1986. Most corners I turned in the old Europa, were dilapidated remnants of once glorious past. The abundance in the new world was just simply overwhelming. The sunny and easily going Americans simply made me believe the best has yet to come. Merely quarter of century has passed and I think I have to reassess that.
山明水秀 green hills and clear waters – picturesque scenery is little far fetched since there isn’t hills (and I didn’t get to swim in its rivers ..) but Ningbo feels charming and sophisticated, or at least merging toward that direction. Its people are still simple and sincere.

A night market was in rage. Following the music I came up to this show booth. Naked cowboys performing? They didn’t seem to be doing a brisk business the few minutes I lingered there. Maybe I was in the way, so I moved on. Then did I realize that everyone was selling their unique foods in some form of nakedness. There were security guards or police mingled with orderly crowds.
Btw, I couldn’t taste any of them bec I had no empty corner in my belly. Errrrrrhhhhhh … what a bomber.

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