October 14th, 2010
Time: 6:16 p.m.
Location: Waiting room 8, Shanghai Railway Station
Riddle me this China: How does the blondie wai guo ren manage to buy her train ticket in less than 30 seconds from the self-service machine while you people who speak and read Chinese hem and haw and stare at the screen in confusion for 15 minutes?
Sometimes I just have to laugh at this country, its people, and myself. Right now, for instance: I am definitely the only white person in this entire waiting room. At one point this gentleman was turned around in his seat, blatantly staring at me. Usually, I ignore this but this time I decided to acknowledge his boldness with a bit of my own. I stared right back and quirked an eyebrow. I think I scared him because he got this totally bewildered look on his face and turned away.
I laughed. Out loud. I’ve been doing that a lot lately, too. I’ve decided it’s the better approach because I don’t want my face to get stuck in a grimace for life. That wouldn’t be too attractive.
That’d probably get me even more looks.
But I’m pretty sure that even if I looked like the hunchback of Notre Dame, I wouldn’t get more looks that my friend Ellyse. We decided to head on over to the World Expo on Tuesday night. See the sights. In the rain. It was great. And soggy. I think the highlight was when a woman stopped me, gesturing towards her husband and his camera. Naturally, I assumed she was asking me to take their picture. Ellyse just laughed. This was old hat for her. You see, Ellyse is black and has this gorgeous main of curly black hair. Sometimes people argue over whether it’s real. Suffice it to say, Ellyse gets a lot of attention. She’s kind-of famous even though nobody knows who she is. And when people come up to her with a camera they don’t want her holding it, they want her on the other side of it – with them. So now, I’m a part of some Chinese couples’ photo album. I can just see them inviting guests to pour over the pictures of their exciting trip to the Big City and there I’ll be, plastered into the page featuring the Caribbean Pavilion, smiling out at some strangers making the obligatory oohs and awws.
Oh, China, you make me laugh.
What I didn't have to wait in. The weekends at the Expo are ridiculous.