[From November 2007.]
Startled by the lush wet green, no such chords on the Tibetan plateau, against the tympani noise of people, people, “namaste,” chaos, and everything is kind of fucked but kind of working smoothly. Bus radiator on the ground in the middle of the road, passengers, safety stones arrayed, children milling about, other vehicles, us, waiting to get through. Tibet was serenity and absence, and of course it’s the differences in density of population, but it’s not just that. Chengdu, after all, is teeming with lives, but they have boundaries in their minds, laws, line, patterns, conditioning, that prevents the press and mayhem. I’m momentarily galled when I notice that our bicycles are partly blocking the entrance to the noodle shop we’re in, disrupting foot traffic flow, what would earn us vicious looks or “how about moving that crap out of the way” in other places, here it’s unremarked and evidently unremarkable, as if the builtscape is supposed to be just merely only obstacles to adapt to.