Friday, May 26, 2006

Step onto the rush hour subway, Beijing. Sway with the Chinese people moving from one place to another underground. Watch the flickering advertisements through the windows projected outside the train on the black subway walls as we speed, squeak, hiss and hum along to the next station in the giant tunnel. Judging by the way some people concentrate on me, I must be very interesting...

podcastIconHear something strange. An announcement,perhaps, not loud, but different. As indiscernible to me as any other Chinese announcement on the noisy subway train. The sound increases. Look around. Notice a man walking on his knees, nothing below the knees, through the center of the train holding a small dirty plastic canister in his hands. He gets closer, no higher than my waist, mutters the same xie xie repeatedly as some drop small bills and coins into the canister. The sound gets louder, but it's not the man. He wears a backpack. A cord stretches from the backpack which contains the amplifier. The sound is not clear and beautifully distorted. A boy at the end of the cord holds a microphone and sings or chants or I'm not sure exactly what. They pass me and continue on. Not an uncommon sight...

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