z-town to g-town

The flight wasn’t as bad as I’d thought it would be, though getting screwed at Hong Kong airport for a $HK900 visa to China while I was hallucinating from sleep deprivation didn’t really enamour me to the idea of intercontinental jet travel. There was also a measurable level of culture-shock on the train to Guangzhou, going through the sweatshop hub of the world in Dongguan and the string of menacing dirt-grey concrete factories. I had to remind myself that it’s ok; China is a third world country.

So departing and arriving. Even the flight out of Zürich was in question as a blizzard rioted across western Europe delaying flights, and at 5am the city was white under a soft carpet of fresh snow. Guangzhou some thirty hours later was dark and cool, a slight tang of humidity and the distinct scent of China, of the city, indefinable and unique; the smell a city gets when it doesn’t care enough to not bathe in its own smell.

Arrivals. Michael returned from America within hours of my passing out in a jet-lagged heap, and for the next ten days I’ll be across the hall from him in Izumi’s Overseas Chinese Village apartment. What was once the part of town the wealthy Chinese expatriates lived in is now home to many of the city’s foreigners, and looking out from the balcony, through the trees across the park, it’s possible to pretend we’re not in China here.

Despite my temporary return to being a new work here, I have some large ambivalent feelings towards Guangzhou and China in general. Partly from half a year in the sophisticated and mature world of Zürich, were people take art seriously, partly from a change in me, which makes me wonder about the worth of trying to make art here. But of course I’m still stoned from the flight, the life in my body stretched thinly out across Central Asia, slowly reeling back into my cells.

Tom celebrated my last ballet class in Zürich by putting on a fine display of tiger stripes and a red bandana, while Erick and Anna flashed their tits at me, a photo very much not going to make it up here. Later that day after champagne at El Locale with Anna and Cornelia, we passed through Bellevue for the last time this year, the snow just beginning to shroud the town.