A short update:
I paid the price for my dirty cheap flight to Delhi ($600 round trip from JFK) with an overnight layover in Guangzhou, China. The airline did put me up, along with some two dozen other overnighters, in an ostensibly 5 star accommodation near the airport in a rundown mini-metropolis of hotel airports that reminded me of the area around O’Hare. (Except for the farmers across the street from the hotel, who wore wide hats and long handled buckets to scoop water from the irrigation ditch onto plots of land with plants I couldn’t identify.)
It’s hot in Guangzhou. 100 degrees. A humid, still heat that seems to emanate from the haze above, which filters out the harshness of the sun, turning it into a viewable sphere of neon peach.
In the hotel elevator, I ran into a Chinese student from my plane who was heading out to find a grocery store, and I tagged along. While we looked for a place that took cards, as neither of us had Chinese RMB, she told me how she’d left her country for the first time this summer to work at a wax museum in Victor, New York. (I looked this up: population 14,275. Also apparently haunted). I am not sure if this is evidence that the world is small, or big, or just that it’s strange, being human.
We wound up wandering through an outdoor market where vendors sold grapefruit looking things the size of heads and bluish goose eggs. Finally we found a store that took cards. In the supermarket we parsed out the familiar (Pocky, Cup of Noodle, White Rabbit candies) and unfamiliar (spicy chicken feet, sliced tofu in vacuum sealed bags, a whole aisle of something pink that was “like sausage but not sausage”) and left with large bowls of instant ramen and vacuum-sealed tofu, which was delicious, later in my room.
(I wasn't kidding about the sun, though, right? This is every picture I took in Guangzhou.)
(Also, I wrote four poems on the 16 hour plane ride, in addition to bawling my eyes out while watching Inside Out. Oh my god. The people next to me gave me some sidelong concerned looks while I sobbed. What a film. Can't put the poems here as I will try to publish them for realz but, well, the exist.!)