Tianjin, coffee, and next year.

Things I have been up to/thinking in no particular order, as I do not have faith in my memory allowing me to construct such a narrative.

 

Without further ado…

 

–       Kede whisked myself, and my two co-workers, away to Tianjin for a nice summery Saturday outing. Tianjin is the largest Northern China coastal city located about 2.5 hours away from Beijing, and is the fourth biggest urban sprawled city in China overall. As we approached Tianjin, we skirted along the edges of its borders, sticking to the desolate wasteland views of grey stone gravel and grass that gave a bleak imitation of natural five o’clock shadow. With no warning (there is never any warning in China) the gravel turned into fluorescently hued plastic trees, and the tip of a sickly sweet pink spire emerged from behind a mound of dirt. We had arrived at the day’s entertainment: Binhai Aircraft Park. Our waiban Kevin procured tickets for us that showed, of all things, a Russian Kiev aircraft carrier printed on it. China is well known for slapping pictures of completely unrelated things onto any merchandisable real estate, and I saw the picture of this large ship as just another gimmicky ploy to guide you into ultimate disappointment.

Nope.

There was legitimately a de-commissioned Russian aircraft carrier floating near the back of the park. We were allowed to shimmy through the tight internal spaces and go up onto the main deck where some old Hawks, and one helicopter, were parked up, as well as missile launchers and other maritime warfare paraphernalia (the phone booths tacked onto the starboard side I feel were a somewhat more modern addition).

The only problem we encountered on that day was, after arriving to the gates at about 10.30am, Sarah and I wanted to combat the relentless heat with some hydration. Finding the only open supermarket on the main strip, we entered through its doors to be met with enough beer to satisfy Homer Simpson, but not a drop of H2O in sight. Being in an amusement park and only finding beer on the shelves was one of the most traumatically ridiculous world problems I have had to experience. We eventually bought some overpriced water at one of the park shows – an adrenaline pumping faux movie set with racy red RX8’s and stunt bikes galore.

Tianjin also has this black market where you can buy everything, and I mean everything, with almost no questions asked (the only questions you will be hounded with are in due part to the haggling nature of Chinese markets, not the legalities of purchasing said items).

 

–             I FINALLY TRIED VIETNAMESE COFFEE. And I know what you’re thinking, ‘it’s not Vietnamese coffee if you’re in China,’ oh but it certainly was Vietnamese coffee my friends, for everything the light touched had been imported from the original source. The Pho Laboratory has only been open for two weeks, but I dare say they better prepare for an onslaught of hyped up Beijing residents needing their caffeine fix. I ordered my coffee prepared as a hot drink, even though just a mere sliver of window separated me from a blazing 34 degree day, because hot is the traditional method. The black ambrosia dripped slowly into my cup, swirling the creamy condensed milk layer into a luscious Rorschach test I couldn’t wait to consume. Once the last drop had escaped its brewed confines, I sipped on this heavenly brownie-noted liquid for almost an hour (I was in denial over finishing it with every half sip I took). The owner of the Vietnamese place warned me that it was quite a strong drink, and for most of my time I laughed internally at his preposterous sentence. It wasn’t until I finished the last two tiny sips that I became fully aware of my heart racing at a relentless pace. And to think I was going to order another one …

 

–       the Beijinger have said that they will take me back next year which I am hugely excited for. The managing editor has said he will encourage me to expand out of the dining realm and into feature suggestions, which is an amazing step up in regards to learning about the foreign media processes in Beijing. I was asked to attend a Sino-French celebration of diplomatic relations at Yishu8, an art gallery, you can read about that here. Other works I have finished recently are listed here. Oh and the Beijinger held their annual Reader Bar & Club Awards with all-you-can-eat-and-drink on offer for four hours. I acquired a bright blue feather boa over the course of the afternoon, so you can figure out how my night went.

 

–       Oh yeah … I’m back in China another year.

 

–       I’m going to try something different and post photos now.

 

 

 

E.

 

Entrance to the Disney-on-heroin park

They see me rollin’

“and I’d kick her, Sir”

Swiss made CK lolololol

Because buying fake Viagra is totally fine

THE COFFEE

Judging fox is judging

Boats and planes and missiles OH MY

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Searching for meaning.

I read a quote recently that had been slapped onto some motivational garbage picture saying something along the idea of “We are too old to explore new worlds on Earth, and too young to explore new worlds beyond.”

 

It was meant to be some pity filled quote about how this wave of civilisation lucked out in the exploring race. How we’ll die too young to see anything new, and leave behind the legacy of ashes from our burnt out attempts to try and reach beyond the stars.

 

Hell no we didn’t luck out in exploring anything.

 

We could be the most important wave of people yet.

 

Though we may not have tools to explore new places afar yet; we do have tools to explore something even more unchartered.

 

Our own fucking mind.

 

We already have the Internet, a vast digital network of information sharing connecting people to people in a rapidly expanding manner. And this, though it is an impressive start, isn’t our full potential in regards to how we can share and use information from each other.

 

We don’t even understand the most basic functions of our mind to its entirety (why we sleep, the true depths of consciousness/unconsciousness, the multitude of destructive forces that occur in our final aging stages etcetcetc).

 

It’s difficult to study a ‘thing’ by using the very thing itself, but we are growing, we are learning. We are feeling the forces of powers combined.

 

And with it comes a terrifying realisation. This generation is at the forefront of sharing and connecting with each other, yet at every turn we seem to want to capitalise, conceal, corrupt, this development.

 

We are doing a damn good job at destroying the only thing we have left to explore. Censorship, TPPA, small market domination, all fuel to the end-of-the-world fire we are lighting up.

 

If we can’t work together on Earth and cultivate our understandings, we may as well just proceed straight to World War III, and end it now. We all forget Earth is a finite resource, and one day we need to get the hell of this rock, but without a combined effort in reaching this goal, we will lose everything.

 

We cannot allow ourselves to be spectators to our own destruction.

 

(This is one small line for a (wo)man, one giant writing mess for (wo)mankind)).

 

 

E.