Yesterday - All my troubles seemed.....
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I came across a uniformed gentleman standing at attention under a very large umbrella (it was affixed to a heavy metal stand sort of like those outdoor heaters at sidewalk cafes). I thought, "He looks quite smart; I wonder what that's all about?" I stared around to see if anyone else paid him any attention -- then I saw the sign on the side of the wall nearby: "Consulate of Iran". I hate to admit it, but I held my breath as I passed as quickly as I could. Then I came to the next corner and see another one and figure it's another consulate. I scan the walls and have a chuckle: "Consulate of United States of America". Ah, poetic justice. It's not quite Iraq, but a smidge of poetic justice: side by side in China.
Next I ran into two guards and their umbrella area was actually cordonned off and made me walk in the street. Turns out to be just more of the US consulate. The guards are staring at me. Can't blame them as I am talking into my tape recorder.
Ah, yes, the baby pants with the slit up the back. I forgot what a sight this can be to North Americans. At least this child has a diaper hanging out instead of a bare butt. The father (or grandfather) is ushering the child inside and the mother (or grandmother) is washing rice at the aforementioned tap on the side of the building. I had thought she was using a pink plastic basin, but it turns out there was a metal pan inside. It was a huge quantity of rice -- either a big family or a restaurant business.
I'm not going to say don't do it, but walking in the rain on these uneven sidewalks is not easy. It's a constant battle of umbrellas -- up or down, left or right. It would make an interesting dance: I shift my body to the left, my umbrella to the right, and go over on one foot at a bit of an angle. Hey Holly, you could choreograph the Shanghai Shuffle! The moves are much more suited to a modern piece.
I had a two hour massage -- for about $12.00 -- unbelievable!! One whole hour on just my feet. The masseuse was a blind man. This is quite common in Asia as a profession for blind people. He was very good. No match for Ian Cook -- but pretty darn good for a stranger!!
I spent the rest of the day walking about (on my new feet).