The Foreign Bookstore

Nomadic Gatherings by Michel Guntern

Chinese Bookstore
Chinese Bookstore by Cici Hung on Unsplash.

Chapter Four: Colonial Gateway - The Foreign Bookstore.

I looked in at the Foreign bookstore and made a note of some of the titles on display:

'Fundamental issues in present day China', 'Three volumes of China's foreign economic legislation', 'China's majestic and richly endowed Qinghai plateau', 'China's foreign trade corporations and organisations', and 'La vie des Chinois ordinaires' - for the French.

There was also a lower brow choice from: 'The snail and his house' or 'Little white kitten'. I didn't read between the covers to see if they got eaten.

The buses were always crowded, and the female ticket-issuers would lean out of the windows and use a microphone to say what seemed to be: "Push harder, you'll all get on."

Somehow they usually did.

Chinese currency is all notes and the much handled, sweaty money is often in a sorry state.

Screwed in bundles or thrown in drawers, some of the notes had a corresponding value to one penny or less. Only on the buses did the piles of Jiau (a tenth of a Yuan) get any proper attention.

In between stops, the girl in charge of the bus would straighten out the notes and carefully file them according to value.

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