She My Wife?
Arriving in China.
With their curved steel roofs and floors of shining grey granite, modern airports all look alike. There are always walls of glass and lots of chrome. On the walls in the long corridors there are illuminated signs with colourful adverts for watches and perfumes. It seems German architects determine the appearance of modern airports. This doesn't look like China yet; I could be in Frankfurt or Athens. I walk with my girlfriend into the arrivals hall and we see a Starbucks. Coffee suddenly seems like a very good idea before we head into the China.
Beijing is abandoned, because of Chinese New Year, when everyone goes back to his or her home village for two weeks. Most of the shops along the broad streets are closed. Red lanterns hang in the trees and from ropes in between poles. Everywhere there are pictures of roosters, as it's the year of the rooster. We drive to our hotel, which is in the old centre near the Forbidden City, in a remarkable small taxi. We leave our cases in the room and go for a walk on Tiananmen Square.
It's cold, really cold, and the streets are long and wide. Studying the map at home I've imagined everything would be much smaller. I made my own city of it, one wherein I was able to walk everywhere quite easily. When it gets still darker and colder, my face is stinging from the cold, we give up our attempt to reach Tiananmen square today. We go into the first restaurant we come across.
It resembles a canteen, with a few tables in a space covered with tiles. Three fluorescent tubes illuminate the whole restaurant and a TV shouts trough the space. The waiter, a young man with high cheekbones and cheerful eyes, takes our order. When he brings the drinks he remains standing, to stare shamelessly at my girlfriend.
'She my wife?' he asks, indicating my blonde girlfriend. We both start laughing.
'Oh no. I mean she your wife?' He says apologetically. 'Sorry, but, you are so beautiful,' he says to her, and walks quickly away. arriving in beijing