Write Your God ™
Shanghai you doin'?
...when it comes to hygiene, air pollution and feeling like a boss? (and why you should be nicer to your local Chinese business owners). I'll tell you.
(Heads up, this email is going to have some parts that are going to make it hard to smile (and eat), so get your mind right then continue). Oh yea, and it's long.
It is not uncommon for public restrooms to not have soap. Yes, that means you ought to carry soap with you everywhere you go, but do you think that happens? Not so much. The Chinese just wash their hands with water and go— back to eating, cooking, driving your taxi, teaching children, grabbing Starbucks, whatever. It's a truth I've blocked out. Sharday schooled me to carrying soap and tissues. Fortunately, the nicer/ touristy places (the contemporary malls, museum, etc.) have western toilets, soap and tissue. But since we are into the local scene, especially for food, it's usually BYOS.
Western toilets you say? The latrine is used throughout China. But apparently, China has undergone a toilet revolution to have more western toilets because the latrine is a little bit (or a lot of bit) difficult to navigate for first timers and potty pros alike. Nonetheless, it is customary to squat when going (because of the once ubiquitous latrine). So despite the type of lavatory, people squat. That means, people hop up on western toilets and squat. Ever wonder why in a women's bathroom in the U.S. there is sometimes so much urine on the back of the toilet?
I squatted for the first time at our AirBnB using a western toilet. It was a total body workout.
Ok, we are done with that part of the story.
Yesterday, we visited the Shanghai museum.
Funny story-- We were on the train headed to the museum when Sharday spotted a Chinese woman who she suspected had a weave (random). As Sharday was talking, I jumped up and got off the train (at our stop).
"Are you trying to investigate?" said Sharday, referring to the woman's hair, as she quick-stepped behind me.
"Nah, I had to get in where I fit in. I'm learning."
Chinese people don't play when it comes to getting where they have to go. People push, move you out the way, cut you off, and jump in front of you. It's all normal and not personal. Doesn't it all make sense
now? I used to think it was because I'm Black (when home), but nah.
And about exploitation (who said anything about that?)-- Well, two days ago I thought Chinese people move into our neighborhoods and pollute Black and Brown people with high-sodium, greasy ass foods that you never see them eat themselves (You have never seen a Chinese person eat four chicken wings and french fries, have you?). On top of that, I thought they exploited our buying power and beauty standards with mad beauty supplies selling weaves and shit.
Nah, the Chinese believe in grease. Whoa. Everything has a unhealthy serving of grease. Vegetables are dipped in boiling grease and served as an on-the-go snack. The soups are greasy as shit. Sautéed veggies are swimming in a pool of (delicious) grease. The first day, I felt lightheaded after eating and since I've been primarily practicing plant-based eating on this trip, Sharday (vegetarian) and I have been having a lot sautéed veggies and soups. This life requires a lot of water and requesting small portions and milder foods (since the grease also contains the spice in the dishes we've had).
The Chinese also believe in beauty. Little shops do eyebrows, nails, and sell ponytails and makeup. Chinese woman are packing these places getting fresh. Now I'm starting to think that part of the reason there are so many beauty shops in the hood is because we (Chinese and Black people) share the same values about beauty (wanting to change your hair into different styles, do your nails all funky, and have access to expressing your beauty when and how you want-- recognizing these styles originated from Black culture). Some of my woke friends on this email might disagree. But the culture of bum-rushing passed someone (or not seeming overly friendly to customers) and selling that Brazilian bundle might not be as disrespectful after all.
Oh yea, and if you thought I had a hard time keeping a man before, the furniture of the Ming and Qing dynasties just made it that much harder. Check out this hand carved beds and dope hat.