a taxi ride

Going from Huanshi Dong Lu to Jiangnan Dadao, across the river and along the inner city elevated freeways that snake between buildings along narrow streets, stacked on top of each other. I took this ride so many times in taxis, on motorbikes, and very occasionally in someone’s car. And always I’d be looking out the window.

Hanging out in Zürich with Cornelia, who pointed her camera at everything and in ways I’d think, “what the fuck is she doing?” then see the photo and go, “oh! wow! clever bitch!”. Anyway not that I’m pretending to be as interesting as her with a camera, but it made me start to be a little more free with what I’m doing, and a bit more careless, just pointing and deleting …

So, this is the taxi ride through the heart of Guangzhou, a city I’m very ambivalent about at the moment in a country that scares the crap out of me whenever I think about it and the next forty years of its “economic development”.

The ride along the elevated road cuts through part of the old city, and underneath the decaying fields of red brick apartments and dwellings litter the suburb between endless polished tile skyscraper tenements. What was Guangzhou and what will be all the city becomes is right here, one a tumbling mess of subtropical urban life, the other just another anonymous Asian mega-city.

At the ride’s end, in near Xiaogang park and Loft345 artists studios and the remaining inner-city universities, where the canals haven’t been paved over and the feeling of living in a small city is most pronounced, this place is why I like Guangzhou, and what I’d always hoped it could become.