Where did all the Chinese people go?
Yesterday I found myself caught in a stream of people slowly making their way along Guangzhou's main shopping street. The street was filled with sugar-sweet, deafening Asian pop music, and at every shop the music seemed louder.
In the middle of the frenzy I suddenly realized that I wasn't seeing the Chinese as Chinese anymore. I was seeing pretty, boring, lively, or friendly faces. In the people who were walking towards me I recognized friends, relatives and people I'd understand.
The mass of Chinese people who had surrounded me during the previous weeks were gone.
I was probably blending in, I thought. Maybe I was starting to look Chinese myself.
Five minutes later, in that same street. I see a man and a woman walking ahead of me, They are wearing beige and khaki clothes and brightly coloured rucksacks on their backs. The man sticks up above the people around him like a lighthouse in a storm. And the way they move! Stiff and graceless, as if they've tied bamboo splints to their limbs.
The man stops, right there in the middle of the crowd, looks over the people around him and spots me. He smiles, points me out to his wife, lifts his right arm and waves.
Where did all the Chinese go?