Wednesday, May 6, 2015

I Viaggi in Cina - The China Travels: Dolls and Movie Stars

It was raining less than a month ago, as my little sister of about 10 years old, and I were preparing to set out into the streets of Xian, China amidst the puddles of water and the uniformity of blue and white umbrellas, shielding masses of shiny black haired men and women as they rushed to god knows where they're always rushing to. They were always rushing.

Great Wall of China - Beijing
It was a view that must have looked aerially corrugated. Bunches, and then trios, and then couples of people, huddling along beneath a grey sky. Patterns of little people, on little streets, with their little blue and white umbrellas.

And then there was us.

And immediately as we stepped out into the street, masses of Chinese elementary school children began to pass us in groups of fifties. Little Chinese boys and girls whose mouths dropped and eyes widened at the sight of us, one I even remember, pointing and saying,

"Americans."

One little girl with her hair tied back in a neat ponytail pushed her way through a crowd of her classmates to tap my little sister on the shoulder.
"Excuse me," she asked, adjusting her glasses. My sister turned to her, although sure she must have been talking to someone else, and she continued, "May I please take a photograph with you?"
My sister, Angelina, turned to me, confused, however I insisted to her that it was okay, and that I would explain it to her later. Only, I didn't know how I would explain it. I don't think I can explain it myself, even now.

The girl called her friends over and handed me her camera. I took a photograph of them all and the Chinese girl turned to Angie and said, "You're so beautiful, like a doll I used to have." The girl thanked her and disappeared with her camera back into the sea of umbrellas.

Angie looked up at me and said, "Were like movie stars." We kept walking, passing all of the smiles and the wide eyes. We smiled back. They waved at us, and we waved back. Angie began to laugh, and we went ahead.