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Friday, September 20th: Hangzhou.
Does he drink white liquor?
I am under the weather this morning—listless, sleepy. Too many changes of air, too many banquets.
No, this is not a hangover. Sure, we had a banquet last night with white liquor, but I didn’t get drunk. I’ve had hangovers, including white liquor hangovers; I know from hangovers; this isn’t one. I’m just under the weather.
This is a shame, as we had intended to spend today circumambulating West Lake, the most famous beauty spot in Hangzhou.
The circumambulation is about six miles. I just barely make it.
In the subway going back to our hotel I sit opposite a young male Chinese albino—the first I can recollect ever seeing.

9月20日,星期五:杭州。
他喝白酒吗?
我今天早上不太舒服——无精打采,昏昏欲睡。天气变化太大,应酬太多。
不,这不是宿醉。当然,昨天晚饭我们喝了白酒,但我没有喝醉。我有过宿醉的经历,包括白酒宿醉;我知道宿醉的感觉,肯定不是宿醉。我就是有点不舒服。
真遗憾,我们原本打算绕行杭州最著名景点西湖。
最后我勉强绕行了大约6英里。
在回酒店的地铁上,我的对面坐着一位年轻的中国男性白化病患者,这是我第一次见到白化病患者。



Down the blue-red gradient
Our contact in Shaoxing is another 1983 graduate of Siping Normal College, name of Yibing. He teaches at a big private university here. (The 19th Party Congress in 2017 passed resolutions encouraging private entrepreneurs to set up institutions of higher education. Entrepreneurs have responded enthusiastically. There’s money in higher ed., and of course prestige—a grand building with your name on it.)
Shaoxing is a smaller, less touristy place than Hangzhou or Suzhou, so we have come a few steps down the cosmopolitan-communitarian (metropolitan-provincial, blue-red) gradient here. There are more guys smoking (hardly any women); there’s noticably more spitting and less orderly queueing; and perhaps private automobile ownership is less settled-in here than in the big cities; at any rate, we see our first Chinese fender-bender here this morning.

蓝红色渐变
我们在绍兴的联系人是另一位1983年毕业于四平师范学院的毕业生,名叫易兵(音译)。他在一所大型私立大学浙江越秀外国语学院教书。(2017年通过决议,鼓励民营企业家创办高等教育机构。企业家们对此反应热烈。高等教育既能挣钱,又能赢得名望——学校会有一座写着你名字的宏伟建筑。)
绍兴比杭州和苏州小,也没有那么多游客,所以我们好像走下了世界主义-其他主义(大都市-省级城市,蓝-红)的阶梯。这里吸烟的男人多了很多(几乎没有女人);很明显,随地吐痰的现象也越来越多,排队的人越来越少;也许这里的私家车拥有量比大城市少;无论如何,我们今天早上第一次看到了一场小剐蹭。

As in Hangzhou, we are put up at the university’s own hotel, staffed largely by students taking courses in hotel management.
I notice that our room number begins with the digits 85, yet it’s on the fifth floor. Our room number in the Peking hotel began with 83, but it was on the third floor. So … what’s with those superfluous eights?
I ask Rosie. She: “Eight is lucky.”

和在杭州一样,我们住在学校的酒店,这里的员工主要是学习酒店管理课程的学生。
我们的房间在五楼,但是房间号码是以85开头的。我们在北京饭店的房间在三楼,但是号码是从83开始的。那么,多出来的8是怎么回事?
我问罗西。她说:“8代表幸运。”



The museum—it was actually Lu’s childhood home: he was a native of Shaoxing—is very atmospheric. I mooch around happily and buy Lu Xun tchotchkes: bookmarks with Lu Xun quotes (e.g. “If you don’t explode in the dark, you will die in the dark”), a Lu Xun keychain fob, a chinese fan with another quote (“The highest felicity in human life is to find one person who understands you”).
They even have a room where you can play a Lu Xun board game, printed up on paper and trapped under transparent plastic table covers. I want to buy one but they’re not for sale. My next idea was to have Rosie distract the person supervising the room so I could slip one game out from under its plastic sheet, but Rosie wouldn’t go along.

鲁迅是绍兴人,鲁迅纪念馆实际上是他童年时代的家,纪念馆氛围非常好。漫步在馆里,我充满了幸福感,买了一些与鲁迅有关的小玩意:鲁迅名言书签(例如:不在沉默中爆发,就在沉默中灭亡)、鲁迅钥匙扣,鲁迅表袋、印有鲁迅其他名言的中国扇(有一个懂你的人便是最大的幸福)。
博物馆甚至专门弄了一个房间,你可以在里面玩一种棋盘游戏,这种游戏印在纸上,藏在透明的塑料台布下。我想买一个,但是不卖。我想让罗西转移监督房间的人的注意力,这样我就可以从塑料布下面拿出一款游戏,但罗西不同意。

注:作者在这里把沉默翻译成Dark,而不是翻译成silence。



Monday, September 23rd: Shaoxing to Hangzhou, then the overnight train to Chongqing.
Another Yellow topia
Of the roughly 300 people waiting at Shaoxing railroad station for the 14:48 train to Hangzhou on Monday afternoon, 95 percent are attending to their smartphones. One is writing in a notebook. A few others are dozing or sitting looking at nothing. Not one is reading anything printed on paper—a book, a magazine, a newspaper.
Every one but me is Chinese. (Well, East Asian. Possibly there is a Korean or Japanese in there somewhere.) Outside the colleges and some specialized zones in the biggest cities, mainland China, like Taiwan, is a Yellowtopia.

9月23日,周一:绍兴到杭州,然后连夜赶往重庆。
另一个黄种乌托邦
周一下午14点48分,大约300人在绍兴火车站等候开往杭州的列车,其中95%的人都在玩智能手机。一个人在笔记本上写字。还有一些人在打瞌睡或放空自己。没有人阅读纸质东西:一本书、一本杂志、一份报纸,一个也没有。
除我以外,都是中国人。(好吧,也可能是东亚人。可能有韩国人或日本人。)除了大学和一些大城市的特区外,中国大陆和台湾一样,就是黄种乌托邦。