Warnings in May 2010

It was a warm Sunday afternoon, and I was just getting up from bed. After being asked to go to the mountainside to visit an old friend I had to agree, though I could have stayed in bed for another couple of hours. It was one of those days where the inside of the building still hadn’t warmed up to the temperatures outside, and it was simply gorgeous laying under the light blanket. But after giving a few “no-s” the night before when it came to asking whether or not I would be home early, I had to give a “yes” or two at least in order to balance out the equation. And it would probably be good for me to get up and out for once. The three of us got a taxi without a long wait which was quite surprising considering that it was a Sunday, and that the weather was so nice. The journey, however was jammed with traffic, and it took us close to an hour and over forty kuai to hit the spot. And was it a spot or what? I had been there when my friend first got the property, and it looked like a dump, I mean a complete dump. Now it was transformed into sort of an artist’s community. If a hick’s house can be an artist’s community well then this one was one. Everything was missed matched in a collision of wood, cement, ancient looking recycled Chinese roof tiles, and bricks. The inside of the rooms felt as if we were in the house of a hobbit. There was a brand new loud red nylon chair sitting next to an older Qing dynasty wooden carved chair.

Of course tea was brewing for a couple of guests who had arrived just shortly before we had. Our cups were brought to the table quickly. And of course the tea was some strange breed from some strange mountain in the south giving it some peculiar curing property. This huge dog nearly scared the shit out of my little daughter. I had to be the manly man and show her how not to be afraid though to be honest, I wasn’t sure where the dog had been. To the dog’s bone-craving delight, the pig’s trotters were the first thing out of the kitchen. But it was only three o’clock. Why were we eating so early? To be able to drink of course. How could we have salubrious conversation without drinking? And how could we drink without eating? Stupid questions. So out came the red wine, and the white wine not to be confused with white grape wine, this was of the paint stripper variety. My glass was filled quickly, and my throat almost immediately caught fire. At one point, when the conversation was way over my head, which was most of the time, I sat back and looked up at the trees swaying in the breeze and listened to the birds singing. It was good to be alive. It was a warm day.

By Tim Hoerle