Sunday, August 29, 2010

Picture of the Day: Firetruck chasing

I got a tip this evening about a building on fire near Sanyuanqiao. After a bit of internal deliberating, I decided to hop on my bike and check it out.

Alas, firefighters work quick in Beijing, as I saw these firetrucks departing the scene before I got there:

And not a trace of smoke. So I went to Lady's Street instead, for no particular reason:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The return

My one-month vacation from this blog turned into two months, but so it goes sometimes that it takes longer than expected to sort out vagaries. A quick sum-up of the last 60 days: started full-time as a copyeditor at a news organization; won a beach tournament in Dalian a week after the oil rig explosion; cruised the Yangtze for a few days; got sick; bought ticket, just last night, to New York and Kansas City for National Day holiday.

I see myself speaking with friends at a Manhattan bar. In my time abroad, I've gained valuable insight into why I left in the first place. I loved drinking in New York after work, but I kept thinking there was something more. My antipathy for offices may be an expression of my restlessness, an inward rumbling that's the subconscious answer to the call of a world changing at frightening and exhilarating speeds. I didn't want to drink at my barstool and watch from my laptop as American got passed on the circular track of history.

And yet -- and yet! -- even if my motives for living abroad were accurate, what of the results? Have I merely chosen a different setting to defer adulthood -- instead of playing in Frisbee tournaments in Boston, playing in Singapore? Am I any closer to finding some great illuminating truth or, as ambition would have it, doing something greater?

There are more of these questions, and the answer to them all is maybe, or flat-out nos parading as maybes. I am a year, perhaps less, away from an existential crisis. By the day the questions creep up a bit more in my conscience, biding their time, waiting for audience.

A picture from the Yangtze -- notice the discoloration at the base of the mountain, and how that's a sign that summertime is low-water time: