Saturday, November 7, 2009

In the Flesh

Woke up early yesterday to stand in a huge line for a 10-second glimpse of embalmed Mao. Beforehand I imagined myself peering over a glass casket into the empty eyes of a mass murder. But the casket is behind a glass enclosure, so you can't get any closer than about 8 feet.
He looked like something straight out of Madame Tussaud's - could've been wax. But I guess he's the real deal - dressed in his uniform with a hammer and sickle blanket draped across him. They have lights shining on his face so it looks like it's glowing - altogether very weird. It was interesting to watch all the Chinese people laying white flowers and bowing below his statue outside the viewing room.
After that we took a bus to the summer palace. We stayed a couple hours. It was cloudy so the lake was obscured. Empress Cixi's marble boat was quite a sight though.
Later we were walking down the street and this old man with funky teeth came up smiling to us saying some word in Chinese neither of us understood. I think he was trying to tell us he was stoked we were a couple. He grabbed our wrists and clasped our hands together and made as if to push us off the curb into oncoming traffic. Then he walked away smiling. I've noticed we get a lot of double takes here ("Asian guy! White girl!") but that was a first.
In the evening we went to see a Chinese movie called Radish Warrior, or The Stubborn Robot, or Radish Solider [sic] depending on which key art or trailer was advertising. It wasn't bad! More on that later. Movie meeting today, wish us luck!

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