June 12, 2006

Thoughts on the Chinatown Bus

Immigrants given enough time away from the place they have forsaken will often return to find themselves a stranger in a strange place. This happens because either they have changed and return to find the place unchanged, or they will cling to the traditions of their youth and return to a place that has moved on. Either way they will end up feeling adrift-people without a home. I noticed our bus driver's pinky nails were both very long and etched with characters. While you still might find the long pinky nail amongst Chinese men, the tradition of character etching is pretty much dead. The driver said he had been in New York for almost 35 years. He returned to his village in Fujian province in 2004. "They destroy everything." he said, "I will never go back there."

Why are all the Jamacians on this bus wearing small cowboy hats?

Is it strange that every white person on this bus has a tattoo?

It is the common view in the west that Muslim women who are strict in their dress, the women who wear black flowing robes, and a hijab with only a tiny slit for the eyes) feel trapped by their clothing... is it possible wearing the hajib feels makes one feel the way I did when I wore a ninja costume... stealthy? A person with secrets. There is a woman on this bus with only the tiniest opening for her eyes, she is covered head to toe and yet I swear I can feel her smiling underneath there.

This is the primary Qur'anic verse used explain the Islamic custom women's modest dress btw, "And say to the faithful women to lower their gazes, and to guard their private parts, and not to display their beauty except what is apparent of it, and to extend their headcoverings (khimars) to cover their bosoms, and not to display their beauty except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband's fathers, or their sons, or their husband's sons, or their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their womenfolk, or what their right hands rule (slaves), or the followers from the men who do not feel sexual desire, or the small children to whom the nakedness of women is not apparent, and not to strike their feet (on the ground) so as to make known what they hide of their adornments." There is also another verse about drawing their jalābib (long coat) close when they go out...

I love the strangeness of the world, but is baby octopus ever good breakfast food?

One of my favorite things to do on a bus is to look down into the windows of the cars as they pass. People relax in their cars. Their walls are down. You know that opening scene of "Wings of Desire"? I imagine it like that.

Is it impolite to change seats if the person next to you is quietly breaking wind?

posted at 08:19 PM by raul

Filed under: daily life


07/07/06 11:45 AM

I think it might be impolite. Can't we be allowed to fart on long bus rides?

This is a change I'd like to see but am hampered and unwilling to enact myself. I'll squeeze those cheeks til the end.

10/17/07 03:49 PM

the pictures are really beautyful
and i love the text

where are you from?

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