Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sondisa Coffee

OK, The coffee here is awful and Sondisa coffee’s URL doesn't work. In fact, Baidu has never heard of the place and Googling Sondisa Coffee just brings up this picture in this blog posting. But I like it here. There's either free WIFI of the ability to poach WIFI from nearby. The staff here is great, they even found an adapter so I could plug in my laptop. But the coffee part of Sondisa Coffee needs some work. A small cup costs a minimum of Y20, that's close to $3 US. It arrives with small container of a white substance. Milk?  Melamine?  Who knows, it has flowers on it and simply says, "ME".

This gives me time to reflect on Guiyang, capital of Guizhou province. Guizhou is a poor province and I can see that just by walking down the street. Peasants with their baskets cruise the streets looking for work. Or pick through trash. They gather in small groups playing cards between jobs or trash picking gigs or wander aimlessly and spit. Normally only Chinese men spit (and spit up a storm they do) but among the poor in Guiyang loud expectoration is an equal opportunity street activity. Like most of China Guiyang is a mixture of poverty and extravagance, only more so. Peasants pick through garbage cans for plastic and cardboard while BMW's, Jaguars, Range Rovers and the usual gaggle of Chinese knock off cars cruise by. There were fewer peasants on display in my previous stops of Xiamen and Nanjing.

Last night 2 young women approached me and asked in English what language I spoke. They explained to me that they were hungry and wanted money for food. This was laughable, they were well dressed and worldly enough to speak some English. In China that's a marketable skill although begging to gullible tourists might result in a quicker and easier Yuan than bothering to do any actual work. And those here who are obviously dirt poor peasants pay me, Mr. Laowai Walking Wallet, no mind.

Speaking of begging, in Xiamen I saw a man by the bus depot at the SM shopping center with his guts hanging out from a hole in his belly. I'm not sure whether this was some sort of parlor trick or not but I don't know how he wouldn't quickly succumb to a massive infection if it wasn't. It looked so awful and pathetic that I couldn't look twice.

Next stop: Kunming

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