Chengdu Chengdu Chengdu

Monday, May 03, 2010

Man stands with left hand holding cellphone to right ear, with right hand on right hip, two angles of arms; his shirt is black, gray, white, and yellow horizontal stripes. Cheap cellphone’s ringtone isn’t tinny — it’s plasticky. Men with black leather bags, the flat kind with a flap and one thin strap. Pink plastic jacket with zipper. Woman eating mian tao takes one bite then right away another without chewing. Woman in a shiny jacket hunches forward on bicycle, past a cop car with the lights on but no siren. DHL boxes being broken down by a clean, healthy-looking man. Unoiled bicycle chain. Short older woman in a gray-green jacket tips a single wooden crutch along, not leaning on it. A man smirks the whole time it takes to walk past. Six cars parked at the curb, each with a driver waiting. Boy and girl: both: black hair, white t-shirts, black jeans. Little boy holds a cellophane bag to his mouth with both hands, eating something white. Girl in a skirt with thick blue and yellow stripes has a green charm on her cellphone. Woman walks with her elbow on a boy’s shoulder. Four girls in primary school uniform: three pink backpacks and one red one. Tick-tick of a boy walking his bicycle, girl with her arm around his neck. Pale woman with short black hair in a black blazer, gray pants, and black heels on a pink bike. Short man in a big blue jacket carries wicker baskets on a pole across his shoulders, one basket empty and the other with a pile of yellow fruit.  Man frowning on a bicycle through foot traffic with a boy on the back and a blue/silver backpack in the front basket. Taxi engine sounds like deep inside a large ship. Old man in a loose ochre-colored CCP-style suit and cap crosses the street slowly with a woman with wiry hair. Woman in plaid pants, red flats, and yellow jacket plants her feet, rotates her shoulders to look behind her, in the middle of the street. White car cuts in front of woman in black uniform. Middle-school boy: gray sweatpants with red stripe, white shirt, red/black plaid vest(?). Two guys in white jackets walking together, one with cream pants, the other light gray. Suddenly sexy women everywhere, all sexy in different ways: jeans, stockings, short hair, necklace, dyed hair, blue uniform, swinging skirt, turquoise jeans that fade from mid-shin down into black. Perfume of a woman going by — rare. A couple strolls, stops, points back the way they came, deciding where to go, then continues on. Billboards for Max Factor, Mango, LaNeige, Longines, and Versace. Little girl and father on a moped, her standing in front, eating. Brief laughter from a small store out of sight away across the street. A pedicab bicycle with red velvet cushions folded down. Taxi hits the gas just as it passes. Something preppy is going on: many kids in school uniforms have v-necked sweaters. Every bike squeaks differently. Keys jangling as a man walks east, fast. Woman’s silver sunglasses are pushed up on her head like a tiara. A man moving forward on his bike looks backwards and smiles at something. People walking west are now squinting. An electric pedicab sounds like something on a track, smoothly guided. That guy’s face looks like a fish. Bicycle sounds like shears. Couple holding hands — she swings a blue plastic bag and he wears a backpack on his chest. Woman comes up the steps with the kind of blank weariness of a sumo wrestler. Girl in red/white school tracksuit rides by drinking from a bottle of Sprite in one hand. Most of the mopeds parked across the street in the lot are red. Woman’s high heels are foot-colored, only the heel is black. Another boy in the vest uniform. Guy drinking Red Bull from a gold can. Man from a jam-packed store hocks his throat and spits on his own stoop, goes in , comes back out, goes in. Girl on an electric bike and boy on a mini-wheeled folding bike holding her seat, being pulled. Toenails of a dog click-skipping on three legs, holding up a hind leg, ribs sowing through. There’s something airline-sounding about electric bikes, a sound of empty air. SUV honks four times, turns right. Two guys in white shirts: one with a grid pattern of 1-inch squares and the other with 8-inch squares, the grid zoomed in. Young woman whistling, unusual. Small moped sounds like a large motorcycle. Throat-clearing man. Man with a phone to his ear and an unlit cigarette in the middle of his mouth, lips pursed. Instrument panel of a pedicab bike glows red on the driver’s forehead. Pant-legs weep-weep as a woman walks quickly. Three girls, the middle one is the glamorous one in red boots. Mufflered moped has the sound of sleepy power. Two taxis with different-pitched motors make a miniature Doppler going by. Teenager with earphones looks askance, sucks on a large pink plastic straw in an empty cup. Woman in gray t-shirt, black skirt, black kneesocks, and low pointy white shoes stands around; her tiny knees are bare. Rrr-r-rrr of a large flatbed changing low gears. Wheels and engine of a moped make two sounds at once. Guy rides a girl on back of his bike; she sits sidesaddle, rests her head against his back. Sound of metal stretching as a man pedals his three-wheeled bike with a food cart on back. Girl stands in the light of a hair salon, then the light goes out silently.