Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

May 10 2004

I realized on the subway the other day that there …

I realized on the subway the other day that there were only two MRT stations I hadn’t visited, the two over in Banqiao, Xinpu and Jiangzicui stations. A couple of friends of mine live over in Banqiao, a place I’ve never had much interest in despite their glowing recommendations. I used to ride through there from Yonghe to my job in Wugu way back in the day, and I saw little to impress me.

I was already riding the blue line and had some time to kill, though, thanks to my landlady’s reluctance to replace my hot water heater causing me to include a night at the sauna in my plans, so I decided to pay Banqiao a visit. I took the train all the way out to the last station, Xinpu, and emerged from the station to find a gritty industrial scene with a veneer of fancy new apartment buildings struggling to uplift what was obviously not a well-to-do neighborhood. An elevated highway cut across the landscape perpendicular to the subway line, and I walked down a couple of sad-looking streets thinking to myself that it wasn’t that much better than Sanchong, which is my measure of a Place I’d Rather Not Live. On my way back to Jiangzicui Station, though, things started to look up. More and more nice apartment buildings, some aspiring to Hong Kong-like heights, had obviously brought a large number of well-to-do office workers to the area. After checking out some real estate boards, however, I realized that they weren’t necessarily all that well off, as prices seemed rather cheap out there. There were more parks and tree-lined streets, but it was obvious that before the MRT line was built there were few attractions outside of the Cultural Center where I saw the indie movie “Baodao” many years ago.

As I was walking down a street/alley wondering if it was the sort of alley I could get away with openly pissing in, all the loudspeakers came alive with announcements pertaining to the community. This went on for about ten minutes and was very annoying, but nobody seemed to mind. I imagine this practice was once much more popular than it is today.

I climbed a pedestrian overpass, interrupting a couple of chatting high school students, as the sun set in order to get a better view of the area. At least I think the sun was setting, as the air was so full of haze I couldn’t tell except for the gradual loss of light. Streams of office workers were pouring from the MRT exits and heading up into the highrises. It could be a very nice place to live I suppose. I still think I’m much better off in Xindian, though I could really use some hot water.

Speaking of hot water, Dean and I are going to be heading down south to shoot a short film on the Bunun Tribe in Taidong, famous for its hot springs, later this month during their “Deer Ear Shooting” festival, when youths prove their worth by shooting deer ears (I hear it’s like their version of the SAT). I’m not sure whether the ears are still attached to the deer at the time, but I’m sure it will be interesting in any case. And you know I’m getting desperate for a change of scenery when I go to places like Banqiao to see something new.

posted by Poagao at 8:04 am  

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