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my Chop

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Thursday 18th April
Up early slip away and catch bus number one to the railway station. A sunny morning, steam engines wheeze and cough in the sidings. Human engines wheeze and expectorate as they haul their barrows. CITS said booth number one, and I join the queue deeply suspicious as it’s the shortest one. After 20 minutes reach the front and helpful man sells me hard seat for 3.20 Remninbees. Go and buy dumplings for breakfast.
3000 people attempt to join the train to Shanghai, fight for my life and and get a small space near the hot water caddie and perch on the end of my foam mat roll. Fight on to 65 bus near Shanghai station. Show a very tall Englishman to the Pujiang hotel with me. He’s a teacher of English in the south of Thailand.
Change my last Remninbees at 100 /160. Get a shave for 80Fen and spend the afternoon in the foreign language book store drinking tea and choosing paintings and calligraphy. Buy eight cheap paintings at about 1.50pounds each for friends back home and two examples of calligraphy. One translates as: the man with 10,000 books has great knowledge. The other is a poem by Chang She a Tang dynasty poet titled anchorage at Fengchiao. “A setting sun, the call of the bird, air that is sharp with frost, maples by the riverbank, and lanterns twinkling from fishing boats. In the darkness I lie, troubled at heart. Midnight, and from Hanshan Temple, outside Suzhou, comes the boom of the bell, the sound resonating through our boat.”
Call to collect chop from down Nanzing Lu , some difficulty as I’ve lost my receipt. I know exactly whats carved on it and the price but they still won’t hand it over without the piece of paper. Long angry stand-off. A chinaman from California comes to my aid, rapidly loses his temper with the staff and there is a blazing row for 15 minutes. Meanwhile I write out a receipt myself and is somehow this allows all sides to save face.
Dine with the very tall English teacher on noodles. His height is a real crowd puller. There is an overpowering urge to gawp and people literally walk into lamp posts and cycle into the back of cars. Get to bed early, headache as usual from neck. Pityriasis is nearly gone. Pack, hide Walkman in shoulder strap pouch, and the earphones in a pair of socks.
My Chop

My Chop

Posted by 1985 trip 16:00 Archived in China

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