Prince and Geisha

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Prince and Geisha: China

Introducing his Chinese Experience Always lovingly Poetic:

November 1984

From the warmth of Hong Kong to the freezing nights of BEIJING. The traveler had finally returned. The emptiness of the airport was the same. The long taxi ride through the tree-lined streets was also the same. It was DEJAVU and a sweet one at that. The traveler had planned it that way.

The familiar Beijing drawl could be heard now. Outside all was deserted. The frosty night had kept everyone inside. Except a few armed guards who waved the speeding taxi on. Then upon arrival at the Guanghua hotel, the traveler was told no rooms were available. The Beijing dance was beginning. The hotel clerk allowed the dazed traveler to sleep in the television room, though.

The next morning, some Swedes took pity on the poor traveler and escorted him to the Qiao Yuan Youth hostel. It was all a dream as the traveler listened to his walkman and saw thousands of blues and greens just outside the bus. These were the national colors. Everyone wore the same coats. The traveler's ears picked up the soft " ch " and rolling " r's " of the northern dialect.

The sun was out, but the day was freezing cold. Siberia was blowing down from the north. The city seemed ancient and vast. Dust was in the air. Lot's of it. More mental disorganization was soon on its way. Everything in Beijing was big. Big ugly buildings in the Russian style. Stalinist chic. There were wide avenues with few cars. There were big walls around the Forbidden City. Most of the Mao pictures were gone. Symbol recycling was in progress.

Everyone was retching and spitting on the streets.

On the Yangtse
January 1985

Chongqing was full of surprises. Chaing-Kai Shek's war-time capital still retained a ghostly feeling of old China. Fog shrouded the city. The buildings were old and run-down. Little nooks and alley ways abounded. Steps seemingly lead to nowhere.

At the hotel, an Australian drifter barged into the room. The traveler did not know it then, but the start of an immortal friendship was secretly unfolding. The Australian who was German by birth introduced himself:

" My name is Klaus. What's yours? "

The traveler just stared.

The water-front was pitch black. The traveler could barely see the ship. But the lights of the boarding dock suddenly appeared and electricity just surged everywhere. It was, indeed, the moment of a life-time. But soon he was stuck inside a cabin with nine Chinese peasants who simply snored like buzz-saws and stank up the room with a foul body odor.

The wild beauty of the Yangtse gorges suddenly popped up out of nowhere. The traveler kept shooting black and white photos as a young Chinese engineer introduced himself. Wei's English barely crossed the threshold of fluency. Yet, he recounted how his father had been killed during the Cultural Revolution, but he still badly wanted to see China modernize and advance.

Wei then shrugged and carefully lit his cigarette in the wind. With great skill, Wei struck a match and pushed it into a match-box to protect the flame from the fierce winds. He then put the cigarette into his mouth and pushed it into the match-box. This was China at work on a daily basis.

The rotten food had made me sick. My head throbbed with a fever. Could it have been the dog meat? I had seen carcasses of the poor mongrels next to the kitchen. I had not put " two and two " together fast enough. " They must be for somebody else " I had thought.

Wuhan is totally fucked. The town is devoid of all charm, except for the old European concession with its old beautiful brownstones and white marbled buildings. The rest of the town....

I found this flea-bag hotel, but found no respite from the noise. All night people were coming and going. I was also put in a hallway devoid of any shred of privacy. I started screaming at the receptionist and was quickly put into a private room the very next morning.


....stuck inside a rat-infested room and with a fever. Running out of Remenbi with no real black-market in this smelly dump. The people are not really friendly. NOISE is just everywhere.


Stability is change within certain limits. Stability is a relationship between a system and its environment. It can be good. It can be bad. Democracy can be stable. So can Totalitarianism. Nothing is stable forever. The environment is always changing. Taoism anyone?

China is a story of very wild oscillations. Anarchy hitting a proud culture. Today energy and information are degraded. China has played primitive war games within herself. A psychological vacuum exists now. Thermodynamics is just running wild.

Lack of conflict was impossible in Mao's mental software. There would always be perpetual revolution with cycles of mass unrest and revolutionary consolidation. Mao confused Marxism with Taoism, perhaps. Instead of this harmony of opposites, there was a just a perpetual conflict between opposites in the powerful imagination of the Great Helmsman.

Survival is a systems' property. Complexity allows local failures. Thank redundancy for this. Ninety percent of all living species that ever were are no longer around. China's channel capacity for foreign inputs was not wide enough and an entropic mess was unavoidable. Japan played the info-regulation game in a more refined and subtle manner. Japan was lucky, China was not.

The Japanese and Chinese are masters of illusion: facades of strength hide weaknesses. Bluffs and deceptions are important in Asian mind games.

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All contents of this site copyright by Michael Arthur Finberg