Late Thursday night sitting with Sara on the steps of a bank facing Cheng Huang Miao – we watched the ominous and the quirky go by. The ominous were the majority of cars rounding our corner clad in reflective or darkened windows. The quirky were the people on scooters, super-visible, and there hanging out for all to see in their absurd normality, baggy pants and hunched shoulders or cigarette perched in one hand, a late night parade of the ridiculously casual or the overdressed, all slowing down to round the corner. The people in the cars were ominous in their invisibility. Why would they not be seen? Or was the world so ominous to them that they needed the silver shell of invisibility?
A converted motor-bike bounced by over the cobblestones. It was driven by a vendor on his way home. The front half of the bike was welded onto a cart-like body with 2 wheels, making it a pick-up motorcycle of sorts. Add the awning on top, and it makes a curious sight motoring about. The “bed” is the cooking surface. It so happened that 2 other people were catching a ride with the vendor. They sat behind and on either side of him, their rumps planted firmly on the stainless steel counter. Equipment, such as plastic stools, was stacked atop the surface. The strings of sausages, jerking and dancing from their hooks at the very read under the awning, were so comical they brought a smile to my lips – even in the middle of Sara’s sad story. The three people were chatting and laughing animatedly, as much so as the sausages frolicking, and they bounced out of sight.