Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Flow of Thoughts: The Return to China, Guangzhou

1.  Mad 
Mad I was to have someone ask me
to change from an aisle to a window
so two people could sit together,
but actually
Mad I was to be leaving Paris,
but more truthfully
More Mad I was to be returning to China

2.  Flight
China Southern tried to copy
Air France's menu
but did a terrible job
except for
the wedge of Camembert
that no one wanted to eat
so I could to my heart's content-
3 wedges happier

The PG movies were old news
mostly for teenagers, kids, and romantics

The hum of the plane was painful
right behind the eye.

Miserable bumpy trip of
artificial light
that was happily
over quick
coz no matter
how terrible
a 12 hr plane ride is,
it is a million times
than a bus.

Then China
welcomed me
with nasty toilets
stopped up with wads of TP
and spittle on the floor and seat

What a jarring wake-up
call not to be in Paris anymore

At least customs were efficient
compared to
baggage claim
of flights from
Vietnam, Paris, L.A.
all at turntable 1
jammed pack with
empty luggage trolleys
not even an inch of space
available for a step near
the edge to drag a bag off.
But after 30 minutes
when my pack finally appeared
the crowd had thinned down.
A poor tiny woman got whacked
when the fast spinning rotation
took my bag from me.

Guangzhou felt deserted
in the aftermath
of the migration to
hometowns for
Spring Festival-
the incredibly super fast high tech metro
near empty at 7 am,
the bus too

The campus devoid
of students
except for the few
stragglers of odd women
nonconforming to the
labeled weird
for preferring to celebrate
the biggest Chinese holiday
rather than with family.

3.  Food
In Paris, I tried to go to
a Vietnamese restaurant
but twice
it was closed
maybe for the
New Year Festival.
In Guangzhou
found plenty of
rice noodles
fish sauce
veggie rolls
and even
evening dim sum
set up outside like
Chengdu BBQ
right next door
to my hotel
in the countryside
of the foothill
of Baiyuan Mountain.

4.  A Gansu Student
It is lovely
to meet up with a former student
who graduated into graduate school
to see her evolution from uninformed
to eyes wide open

University professors
pushing the box of
conformist thinking
to forming well-researched opinions
the Community Party
the development of China
the economic state of a developing country
the pros and cons of the residential card

5.  Volunteerism
Chinese students at uni
join volunteer clubs where they
clean up the campus
visit the elderly
help with the aftermath of earthquakes
visit orphanages
donate blood
raise money

The Confucius Institutes that
are being formed
to share Chinese culture and language
is another way Chinese citizens volunteer.

Volunteerism is alive in China,
but for the older generation
where security and salary
are a priority
volunteering is not understood.

January 19-20, 2012

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