Something called "Chinese New Year" has come to Chengdu.
And it SUCKS.
It sucks in a get-me-the-HELL-out-of-this-place-RIGHT-NOW! kind of way. Which is why my happy, chirpy, I-love-it-here! blog posts have been temporarily interrupted by this seriously unhappy one.
Okay, first of all? Chengdu has gone from a busy, bustling, open-restaurants-everywhere, people-everywhere place to a GHOST TOWN. Check it, peepz... here's a picture of a totally deserted Chengdu street:
This street, with its shops and its vendors and its food for sale and its restaurants would normally have tons of people on it.
But I know that the above picture doesn't adequately communicate "ghost town" to you, probably, since you haven't seen a picture of what it's usually like. So let's see if I can do a better job of communicating "ghost town."
These are just a few of the zillions of shops that are closed (each metal garage door is a different closed shop or restaurant):
And these are closed, also:
And *these* are closed:
ALSO, YES, OF COURSE... CLOSED:
So, yeah, everything's all closed up in here.
Which, in and of itself, would only be *sort of* creepy I guess (except for the fact that my happiness depends upon restaurants being open because otherwise I STARVE, which is because I don't know how to cook anything here and that's no joke, and it's not because I'm lazy)...
...but the worst part? The bombs "fireworks." And by "fireworks," I mean BOMBS. At least, they sound like bombs. They do NOT sound like U.S. fireworks, which are all polite and sort of nice sounding. Chinese fireworks sound like the city is being carpet bombed from the skies, and I am literally not kidding. And since I can't do the sound justice, I will stop here with my pathetic descriptions that don't do the hideous sounds justice.
But really? This dude is NOT selling U.S. style fireworks:
I don't know what that crap is, but it makes the world sound like WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE, and I'm only half kidding because if polite U.S. firework-y sorts of things cause lots of injuries (anyone ever work in a U.S. Emergency Room on the 4th of July??) I literally can't imagine what damage these things inflict.
And also, people literaly set them off right next to buildings and homes and other people and streets and cars and other people and each other. IT IS FRIGHTENING.
And they make my windows rattle and the building rattle and my bed rattle and my teeth rattle and my brain rattle and yes, I may have gone outside and yelled obscenities at no one in particular and everyone in general. (In English, of course, because FSI didn't teach us how to say any of the good stuff.) Which might have made James laugh and threaten to post on Facebook that I did that. And I was all: Go ahead, James! Everyone on the internet already knows that I'm completely crazy! And he had to admit that I was right.
So, yeah. I absolutely HATE Chinese New Year.
Which means that this blog post needs some balance. Because even in the midst of my taking pictures yesterday for this I HATE CHINESE NEW YEAR blog post, I took some pictures of some things that I love.
I love this advertisement at a local clothing store:
The shirt's print is upside down so that he can see Mickey Mouse better, right?
And in the midst of the ghost-town-like deserted streets and closed up shops, there were still gorgeous Chinese babies to admire:
I mean, tell me she isn't the most beautiful thing ever:
Her proud Grandma wanted me to take about eleventy zillion pictures of her (and then show the pictures to them both on my camera's instant digital screen), and I was more than happy to oblige because, HELLO, Chinese babies are the most beautiful babies in the world.
Know what else I love?
These hideously ugly oranges:
They're so hideously ugly that, when you go to buy them in the store, you feel sort of stupid. Like you're the super dumb foreigner who's so super dumb that you're about to actually pay money for fruit that your eyes can plainly see is already rotten.
But it's not rotten! It actually tastes really yummy. And having yummy oranges here is a balm to this Floridian soul.
Last but not least, I think it's high time James's wardrobe got a bit of a Chinese update. I mean, come on! The man just got tenure! Which means he can totally trade in some of that boring, yawn-y U.S. businessman clothing for something a bit more local, right?
I'm having a hard time choosing which outfit I should buy for him. On one hand, there's:
It's sassy! It *so* breaks away from that unspoken, matchy-matchy State dress code! (Well, and the unspoken DS dress code is all the more boring conservative, but at least the mannequin totally has the Yes-I'm-DS-thankyouverymuch *stare* down pat!).
But if you think THAT outfit is awesome, take a look at choice #2:
The tie is on a slant cut! The shirt says "Hello! I just walked into the room! And I'm so self-assured, I can rock this epic print!"
Oh, it's so hard to choose! Anyone have a preference as to which one would be best for James? I think, whichever one I get for him, I'll have to make sure he wears it during the next VIP visit. Just so they get the ultimate immersion into the culture.
Anyhoo, HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR to those of you who don't actually hate it! :)