Thursday, May 17, 2007

Onward and Upward with the Arts

Don't know who coined the phrase but I like it at least as much as The New Yorker.

I admit here that it's time to leave Mumbai as a setting and return to Shanghai. Anything approaching coherence in that narrative would require the time for a thoughtful revision. Considering my workload and our imminent departure from China, that luxury is unavailable at the moment.

Although I have been enjoying Shanghai in a way unknown to longer-term residents, and was detained briefly by the traffic police last week. At the corner of Nanjing Road and the Bund, by a cop with dark glasses who had perhaps watched one too many Clint Eastwood movies. He closed his fingers around my wrist and kept asking me what I'd expect if I'd broken the law in America.

The peak of his cap came up short of my chin but by the time I thought to break away we had attracted an encircling crowd of onlookers. I made the cowardly bid of pretending that I knew no Mandarin, but a saintly woman stepped in and interpreted for us, preventing an international incident and convincing him, somehow, not only to let me go without a fine, but to pretend as if he had never seen me before.

And that's the end of the Mumbai story, for now.

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