I started queuing for the fourth time at the same railway station. The first counter wouldn’t serve foreigners, the second one wouldn’t use a translator and the third one would only sell a ticket to a traveller presenting a valid passport. The valid passport was currently in the Vietnamese consulate, three blocks away. Nothing surprised me.
I looked around and still, nothing surprised me. Four kids on sugar high were bumping into every obstacle on their way, both animate and inanimate. They’d only stop to supplement their calories with cheese wafers and very sweet milk, bean flavoured, if I’m not wrong. Spoilt kids are a side-effect of the reproduction limiting policy. The cashier was picking his nose, issuing a ticket with a very bored face expression. Two ladies were having a vivid discussion, one was wearing pink, quilted, buttoned pajamas, the other one – velvet, light blue, monkey-patterned. They had a dog in a suit on a leash. Phew, in the Hunan province, I saw a dog that could use the toilet and would call his mister to flush afterwards!
The lady in counter no. 4 was a great choice. She issued the tickets without enthusiasm or eye-contact, but really… who needs eye contact in a railway station counter? With the tickets in one hand and a south-north oriented city map in the other, we hit the road to a city park.
Several groups, each of about a dozen ladies of different ages, all of which wearing an anti-smog, Hello Kitty patterned masks were dancing their routines. More or less professionally driven kites were cutting the sky, and the air heavy with heat and pollution was even denser with the ping-pong balls and the hacky sacks. Phew, in the Chengdu park there was also a wife&husband fair with parents handing out fliers with pictures of their offspring.
We threw the backpacks over our shoulders and headed off for the underground station. We passed by a street barber’s shop (aka: stool, mirror and a man with a razor on a pavement). Phew, we’d already seen ear cleaning and pedicure in the street… An electric scooter drove into the station carrying a girl on silver heels just as high as they were shiny. There were three twenty-something girls sleeping one on another on a bench, each of them in full, although slightly smeared make-up, belayed with a heap of plush toys. The projector displaying the times of departures saw us off with the soundtrack from an old Polish comedy: How I unleashed World War II.
I looked around and nothing surprised me. There must be Chinese anti-bodies in my blood already.