Free at last


smile for the camera – Wuhou Temple, Chengdu

At last, Flickr is back again. Not so Blogger, which still can’t penetrate the Great Firewall of China. If you’re wondering what the fuss was all about, it was the government’s paranoia over the 20th anniversary of the Tianmen Square massacre.

In the week or so since I last posted, I completed my student scores and submitted them, picked up my very last salary from UESTC, watched LOTS of movies, and found popcorn. Real popcorn, as in Jolly Time yellow popcorn in a huge plastic bag (Sabrina’s Country Store, South Kehua Bei Lu). This may not seem like a big deal, but for someone who has lived for 3 years with nothing but the microwave variety, which for some reason usually comes in sweetened flavors such as strawberry or chocolate (yes, really), it was a godsend. Now I can pop to my heart’s delight (the Chinese wok is perfect for this), using real olive oil, finished off with a liberal dousing of sea salt. So you see, with all this popcorn I HAVE to watch movies.

I’ve also been documenting, over the past few weeks, the slow destruction of what remains of the Shuijingfang neighborhood. Today’s photo is from a narrow street, and the boards are usually used to close up shopfronts at night. Now, many shopfronts are sealed off forever behind new brick walls, which will eventually enclose the whole area like a belt, preventing any buildings from escaping before the mass slaughter. As each small building is vacated, a new segment of wall sprouts in front of it. Very orderly, very systematic, very deadly, and very heart-wrenching. In all this time, I’ve only seen one resident’s face that bore a look of anger, injustice, or just helpless rage.

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