Figure/Ground

China

CITIES

Hong Kong [ 25 photos ]
Macau [ 21 photos ]
Shanghai [ 27 photos ]

PLACES

Yangtze [ 31 photos ]
Dujiangyan [ 29 photos ]
Sanyoudong [ 10 photos ]
Shanghai's Shikumen [ 24 photos ]

LIFE

People [ 20 photos ]
Bikes [ 13 photos ]
Market [ 33 photos ]
Pandas! [ 17 photos ]
Signs & Oddities [ 20 photos ]
Propaganda Posters [ 22 photos ]

We were on our way from Chengdu to Chongqing where we were to start the Changjiang (Yangtze) part of our trip. Sitting on the bus at the station waiting for it to depart, we saw a small truck pull up next to us. Couple of men unloaded several huge bags off the truck and put them in the luggage compartment of our bus. The bags looked like they contained rice because they are of similar shape, size and material to rice bags I'm familiar with.

Then one broke and raw chicken spewed out all over the place. Some restaurant was using our bus as a cheap transport for their raw chicken! The men stuffed the chicken back into the bag and threw it into the luggage compartment with the other bags. The luggage compartment! The unrefrigerated luggage compartment! The chicken was delivered to some restaurant off the side of the highway somewhere between Chengdu and Chongqing.

Our luggages were wet when we retrieved them at Chongqing and one can only hope that it wasn't chicken juice. Which it probably was. Worse was the fact that I lost all appetite for the rest of my trip in China (and when I said China, I meant China outside of Shanghai). Just as well, though, because food in the middle of China sucks. I got some flak for claiming Greek food is terrible; well, Chinese food outside of the big cities isn't any better. Maybe worse. Oily. Salty. Not to mention unsanitary. (The raw chicken! Oh, the raw chicken! How I wish I could erase that from my memory.) Shocking because I've always thought that Chinese people knew how to cook. Chinese food is known the world over to be delicious. How bad can Chinese food be, right? Well, it can be very, very bad.

In Greece, I subsisted on American-branded candies and soda. No such luck in China as there were no American candy bars and I wasn't about to eat crappy Da Lu candy (if you read pinyin you'd know what I'm talking about). While Coke is readily available, a cold one wasn't. Damn you warm beverages. Damn you. An ice-cold Coke! An ice-cold Coke! My kingdom for an ice-cold Coke!

When we got back to Shanghai, it was like getting back to civilization. Real food! We ate like we haven't eaten in weeks.

* * *

Putting together this travelogue I contemplated separating Hong Kong and Macau into their own section, because they (and Shanghai, too, for that matter) are so different from the middle of China. Ultimately I decided to lump them together since they are technically all part of China. It's been over six years, I guess it's time to start getting used to the idea that Hong Kong is part of China.

All images and text copyright © Liao Yusheng. He can be reached at liao@yusheng.ca.