Jared Ning


china chronicles: subway episode


today, i met Zhang Li, the director who i will be following.  this could be the start of a life-altering career move…

but let’s not talk about that right now.  i’d like to talk about the subway for a moment.

i had my first subway experience the other day.  first i think i should tell you, although you probably already know, that chinese people don’t use deodorant.  some of you know that i, a chinaman by blood, do no sweat easily.  maybe it’s a genetic thing.  i thought about it…no, because my dad can sweat a good one.  well, let me tell you, the people here sweat buckets a day.  chinese people use onion paper rather than the thick stuff we use.  wanna know why?  because they need the other half to wipe off the sweat from their faces.

so my host mom wants to take me to this high-class shopping strip not quite unlike champs elysees in paris.  gotta take the subway to get there.  we walk down about a mile underground.  at the bottom, it’s very quiet.  the only sounds are from newspapers swishing around or the occasional high-heel.  finally a breeze blows some skirts up a little and the remaining hairs of a majorly receding hair-line too.  the train runs through with lots and lots of people of which only a few get off.  my host mom and i squeeze our bodies in.  so i’m in a train full of smelly people who don’t use deodorant with no fans or a/c where everybody has their arms up holding on to the rails…mmmm.  chinese guys like to do this thing with their t-shirts (if they’re wearing one, god willing).  they wad their t-shirts from the bottom as far up as they can go and hold it there with their arms relaxed exposing their bellies.  that’s right, stuff cloth up your armpits so it sweats even more.  and being the short person i am, my nose just happens to be at armpit level.  but, jared, you’re in china, aren’t you considered tall there?  i’ve observed that there is no difference.  it’s just that old chinese people shrivel and shrink more than americans.  if you don’t believe me, go find a 70+ chinese person over 5 foot.  they just don’t exist.  so when i’m over 70, i’m going to be a smurf.  it’s ok when smurfs sweat.  that’s where they get that “blue stuff” you see at the mall.