Every evening, outside of our back balcony window in Kunming, China, I see some of the country’s best dressers gather for an evening of lap dancing.
Not that kind of lap dancing.
Lap dancing at the track at Hu Pan Zhi Meng Xiao Qu.
Hundreds of Chinese Nationals gather to dance around the track doing hokey-pokey style movements in their most stylish outfits.
After watching them for several evenings, I decided to do what any sane american would do.
I joined them, wearing my pajamas.
The nightly lap dance lasts about 45 minutes and is a form of group exercise.
You’ve probably heard the adage, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
But what about butt beans?
It seems as if someone in the cosmos lately has been poking a voodoo doll of me. But instead of moping over my bad cosmic karma, I went to Cafe Laku, a SW Asian coffee chain that sells the infamous brew made with beans excreted from a civet’s rear.
The coffee goes for over forty bucks a pop, a little bit more than the styro-foam cups you can get at Citgo.
Instead of getting a cup of Butthole-Joe, I talked the barista out of a bean.
Meanwhile, at the other end of things, you’ll get fined at the same place for your droppings.
So, finish the adage please.
When life gives you butt beans…
Tired of your job? These Chinese workers are tired on their job.
Hey! Wake up! There’s a clean up in the soy cause aisle!
This looks about as comfie as a middle seat on a fifteen hour flight.
This looks like business class.
Why not just sleep on the sidewalk?
Here’s my favorite seamstress. He definitely doesn’t work in a sweat shop.
“White lady, why water full of sorrow flow from face?”
I was crying buckets in a mani-pedi place near our xiao qu and the Chenglish expression put corks in my tear ducts.
The Chinese landy handed me a Kleenex and I forced myself to smile.
“Xie xie,” I replied.
While Chenglish can be funny, caring words from native Chinese speakers can touch the heart in ways that a Hallmark card could not.
Take for instance, my friend Dou Dou. She’s a funky yoga instructor who is a blend of the oldest Chinese traditions and the funkiest new age fashions.
And the garlic breath of all of Naples.
We dinner last night and I broke news to her that I would be leaving Kunming in June.
“Your news gives me Panda Eyes!”
Dou Dou frowned.
“What are panda eyes?” I asked.
“Black eyes of no sleep.”
We both started crying, knowing that sad news brings tears, no sleep and dark “panda like” circles around one’s eyes.
Sad but true, I will be leaving the land of the weird, returning to the land of Costco and toilets seats this summer.
I don’t know for how long, but it’s giving me panda eyes.
Here are some pandas created by the little kids at our school.
It’s been a year full of them, from the loss of a panda loving student in a helicopter crash to another student leaving early for health reasons.
But one has to believe, just like the schmaltzy expression, “Every cloud has a silver lining”, “Every black eye panda has a smile.“
Well, at least according to Kunming kindergartners.