It's a pleasant day walking on Fuxing Rd. towards the site of the first Chinese Communist Party Congress (CCPC). Where Mao came in as a member of the Hunan wing. I come across some greenery. Palm trees even. Could this be Fuxing Park, I wonder.
Built in 1909 and designed by the French. Remnants of the French Concession. I saunter in. Hey, I'm in no rush. A good chance to sit in the sun, take a break from the city air.
This trio of senior ladies is particularly chatty. As you can see, they have snacks hanging from the bench. Their Shanghainese is particularly lively and animated, like birds on a bright spring day. We are all sitting at benches surrounding a fountain. I wonder what they're snacking on.
To the right of me, a more subdued trio.
We all sit happily, hanging out. The old lady nearest me from the chatty group gets up to expectorate. It's full on and visceral. She gets it out, but there's still some. She sits, still revving up the remnants. She gets up again and it's sensurround. Her other two friends are continuing to chat, paying no mind. I look over to the subdued ladies and wonder if they hear it. Now I'm not a glamorous noodle eater myself. I understand the coarser joys of removing the fluids. But seriously, hacking 9 loogies in a row got to be a bit much, and I leave the fountain.
The old guys watching over it all. Hello Karl. Hello Vlad.
(At the CCPC site I will overhear a teenage girl refer to them as 'Big Beard' and 'Little Beard.')
Walking on, casually coolly: I see the Old Fellow who truly rocks my world.
I encounter him accidentally. I'm not sure what happened, but somehow, upon seeing him my heart opens. I can't describe it. I start following this Old Fellow, he with a quick step, despite his cane. His movement is so rickety and swift at the same time. His face is ageless with joy, and unencumbered. His mouth is half-open with wonder. His eyes are focused and determined to his destination. Like a bird he takes many steps, and then stops. I start after him, and then stop. I must, I must see where he is going. I must, I must see what he is up to. I must, I must have a photograph of him.
In the course of my jockeying for position, I think that he is part of a family of three: A man in a purple shirt, his wife and their son, around 5 years of age. My Old Fellow is shuffling very quickly to keep up with this family. But as I watch him and try to get near him, it turns out that the family doesn't really have anything to do with him. They exchange a couple of words, but it seems that my Old Fellow has himself become kind of obsessed with their 5-year old son. So as the man with the purple shirt and his family continue to enjoy the park, my Old Fellow is quickly chasing after them, as I am also following them. My camera is ready; I get near to all of them and watch my Old Fellow watch the young boy. This double obsession/stalking going on in Fuxing Park. I feel like Kierkegaard trailing the every movement and moment of Regine Olsen.
Clip clip clip. Clip clip clip. I'm overwhelmed and sit and listen to the gardeners make their music. As I exit the gate, the recycler man with cardboard recycleables twined to his bike, is ringing his bell to alert all that he is near. Ring ring ring ring ring ring.
I make my way up to near Xintiandi (New Heaven Earth), yet another shiny mall with newly paved sidewalks. It's both an outdoor mall with shops and alfresco dining as well as an indoor multi-layer with cinemas, like the Beverly Center in LA. There are high end western boutiques like French Connection, Vivienne Tam, Benetton but also Lawry's Prime Rib (for about US$100 per) Hagaan Dasz AND Cold Stone Creamery. Where Bev Hills is about US$800 per square feet, an apartment in Xintiandi is US$1000 per. Way New Heaven Earth indeed. I overhear some older foreign tourists say, 'Well this certainly is different from Beijing.' I'm still not a shopper and my National Day attention is towards that site of the first Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, but a half block away.
There is a museum display, a brief history of all the foreign takeovers in China, stressing that the Communist Party is the only movement that has been successful in keeping China Chinese (so far). All 13 of the delegates are presented, including Mao and the two non-voting members: a Dutch man who went by Maring, and a Russian, representing the Comintern, named Nikolsky.
There is a wax figure display of all the delegates sitting around the table, discussing, debating, with Mao standing in the middle. From far away, I thought it was a woman who was pouring tea.
They vote to:
1) overthrow the state power of the bourgeoisie
2) declare that the dictatorship of the Proletariat will continue until the end of class struggles
3) end capitalist ownership
4) unite with the Comintern
After the exhibit, where no photos may be taken, the path leads to the actual meeting room with a small table and 13 stools and 13 teacups. A janitor in a blue jumpsuit is wiping the table. The meeting took place the last week of July, 1920. They deliberated starting the 23rd, and adjourned the 26 and 27th to redraft. They reconvened on the 28th and 29th, when the French police came to the site to find out what was happening and disbanded the meeting. On July 31, clandestinely aboard a pleasure boat, the delegates took the final vote and passed the Chinese Communist Party Programme.
Here is the street where the site of the first Chinese Communist Party Congress was held. Alas, true communism requires unlimited resources.
And the Goddess of Mercy is Lara Croft.
我快走到新天地了，这里无外乎又是一座闪亮的购物中心，四周的便道都是新铺的。新天地外面是商铺和露天的餐饮店，里面是多层的商店，外加影院，很像洛杉矶的比佛利中心。商店有很多西方的名牌店，比如：French Connection, Vivienne Tam, Benetton 还有 Lawry's 牛排店 (一百美元一位) Hagaan Dasz 和 Cold Stone Creamery. 比佛利中心的租金是每平方$800美金，新天地的租金是每平方$1000美金,确实是天价。我听到几个年长的外国游客说：这儿确实和北京不一样。我不是一个爱购物的人，在国庆节我要去的地方是中共党代会的旧址，离新天地大概就半条街的样子。