November 15, 2017

I’m baaaack

I walked in the front door around eleven last night. The total trip, hotel to home, was about 26 hours. I scored a aisle seat with an empty seat next to me on the long Shanghai to Toronto leg.

I went to bed around 12:30 and managed to sleep about 4 hours before getting up. I will be fighting sleep this afternoon.

Forgive me for not throwing up a meaningful essay today. Perhaps something will come to mind later.  I doubt you want to read any more semi-sarcastic travelogues.

I will leave you with an amusing anecdote. On Sunday we went to the Sun yat-Sen mausoleum in Nanjing. Like most places in China it was crowded. There were about a thousand school kids there (not an exaggeration). My colleague told me the kids were very excited. Most have never seen a “foreigner” (read round eye) before and found me way more interesting than a dead guy who died
school kids in their blue track suit uniforms
almost a century ago. I received lots of stares and embarrassed  giggles. After descending the stairs we were walking along the path back to the parking lot when one brave little guy, about eight or nine, had the temerity to actually offer me a shy “hello”. I gave him a hello right back. He ran thrilled back to his group chatting excitedly. My guide laughed and said the boy kept telling everyone “He spoke to me, he spoke to me”.

I am glad to give someone a thrill in life. My ego allows me to imagine that for the next couple of weeks the lad will be mentioned by his classmates: “Hey, remember that time Ralph spoke to that foreign guy”. In time the legend will grow to describe that we had a full conversation.

I have to admit, the whole thing made my day too.

1 comment:

Practical Parsimony said...

That was very amusing. You will remember the thrill you gave him for a long time. I am glad you spoke to him.

I was working in inner-city schools in Birmingham, AL. Every school was black with only one or three whites. I spent about three days at a school before I went to the next school. One day, I just happened to be in the cafeteria, needing to go across a portion of it to get out of the school. Not wanting to be trampled, I just stood still. One little girl who had been a subject in a control group spoke to me, so I went over and bent down to talk to her. She was only four. My knees were not up to stooping, so I bent. My hair was long, straight, fine and glossy. She ran her fingers through my hair. When I did not object or stand up or remove her hands, dozens of children ran to feel my hair and run their fingers through it. My boss was impressed with my good will toward the children. He commented that it was probably the first time these children had ever felt a white woman's hair. The thought still brings a tear to my eye. I am quite sure those children had tales to tell of the white woman's hair they felt that day.

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