China Diary

Day 211: The Most Chinese Thing

Yesterday walking down the road here in CBD district in Beijing, on our way to yet another amazing hot pot dinner down the road I saw what I believe encompasses modern China in one image.

A guy was selling a handful of turnips and potatoes on the street corner. He had this weather-worn, brown-tanned working Chinese man’s wrinkled face and skinny countryside body. He had a cart, which was probably a hundred years old, made before there was a telephone anywhere near where the cart was built. On it, were two to three baskets with a bunch of potatoes and turnips on them – not a lot, some 40-50 each. This was just like a scene from a classic Chinese movie, nothing peculiar there.

But then, a business guy walks up to him and buys a handful of stuff, but instead of paying with a crumpled bills or greasy coins, he pulls out his top-notch latest-in-line high-tech Huawei Samsung iPhone 5000 phone, and just at the same instant the potato seller flips out his just-as-brand-new phone, and in 2 seconds they WeChat the money over and transaction is done.

That’s China for you. The modern world clashing with the rural truth with such ease. And that’s I believe why China is moving so swiftly, people are able to bring these two elements together, meaning if another fails, there’s always a fallback.

Evening at the CBD district

But the engineers here, that’s another story. The hotel I am at, which is, by the way, not New Otani anymore, has some really strange logic with elements like lights for example. There’s a good set of switches that control the lights in the living room, and in the bedroom, and in the toilets, foyers, and whatnot. But it’s like reading Estonian, it kinda makes sense, but everything means an exactly different thing. So trying to get your bed lamp to work means you need to turn on three times foyer light, once the master switch, then push master from another set of switches and then suddenly only toilet lamp and the bed lamp. Now that I’ve managed to turn it on, I don’t dare to turn it off. The only problem is, when it’s on, the sockets don’t work…

Anyway, as you can deduct, I’m back in Beijing again, after running around Europe releasing The Coming Race in several territories. We’re going to be working on post production for the next 20 days.

Back in Hot Pot Heaven

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