January 23, 2007

Side mirrors automatically folding in as a man clicks his car door closed. A driver slows down, opens the door and spits his beetle nut on the asphalt. Above the mountains a grey sky. Under the bridge drivers are sleeping in their cabs, an arm resting on the back of the seat.

An officer stands calmly on a pedestal in the metro hall. Despite all modernity people are afraid on the escalators, instructions are heard, first to grip the side and then to step on them. Film trailers on the platforms, film trailers in the buses, film trailers on the ATMs. Water bottles on the window ledges are hanging on ropes. People wait next to their garbage for the truck.

What is a photograph in a text? I see buses on which, bit by bit the letters jump from chinese to english. The steel carcass of a house with a crane in front of it. Scaffolds of bamboo. Wet clothing on hangers that are hung up with a stick to the line. Sleeping men at the back of a restaurant. Two longhaired cats that lay languidly on tables. A boy and a girl are sleeping facing each other in a teahouse, both their heads on a little table. A man looks like he is printed on a poster.

Why are there Westerners in the advertisements here? At the zoo Taiwanese shout english words at the monkeys.

Sport shoes in plastic. Incense above the food offerings. A man shaves himself electrically behind a market-stall table. Raincoats dry on the wheels of scooters. Fifty yellow towels hang on pegs in front of a hairdresser. The metal doors in stucco walls. The girlish-women, the ponytails, the Japanese. The noses that seem thicker because they are less deep, less pointy. The points of the noses that are turned down, the high foreheads, the cheekbones. The short chins. The glittered knits. The shirts with short selves. The baseball caps. Cups that are covered with a little bowl with a straw through it. The jade stamps, the lanterns, the boilers on balconies, the butterflies in the parks, the cut open black plastic bags to do gymnastics on. The pedestrian bridges. The electricity towers on stucco in the county. PVC tubes attached to walls. A man with a broom taking the dust from shop awnings.