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The Great American School Bus Conversion: Part 2

I was just thinking about fifteen minutes ago, "I don't think I've ever personally used the word foist before". Not that I remember every word I've said, necessarily, but I think I'd remember if I said foist. Today I resolve to use the word foist at least once in a natural context - so watch out for that.

When we last left our heroes, we had just taken all of the seats out of our mighty new school bus.

To get this party started, check out the official BtyB-Time-Machine satellite photo of the bus. This is in no way blantantly ripped from google maps :

Black & in China

On Imported Blog

Having lived overseas and being integrated my school in Belgium as a child, I would say I am a veteran at confronting race issues abroad. Despite these experiences, nothing could prepare me for China.

Bear in mind that China is a closed state and as such, they don’t get many outside visitors. Don’t get me wrong; Shanghai is a rather international city so they are much more used to foreigners, or Laowai as they call us. Hong Kong however, doesn’t count. The truth of the matter is that many Chinese have only ever seen Black people on television and as a result, their conceptions of us are quite skewed. They believe that all colored people are either basketball players or rappers/performers. Needless to say, the mere glimpse of a Black person can send a whole village of people into a frenzy.

From the moment I set foot on the ground at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport, I knew I was in for quite a ride. I sensed my impending gloom as I looked around realizing that out of the hundreds of people in line in front of me, I could only count 3 or 4 who looked like me. This is typically the case everywhere I go.

This poses quite a problem when trying to get around in China. At first, there are the awkward stares and the pointing and quite frankly, many Chinese will treat you like a zoo animal. Then, depending on where you are, you will suddenly be rushed by a group of Chinese all attempting to take pictures of you on their phones (without asking mind you) and next thing you know, they are asking their friends to take pictures of them with you. You may even be handed a baby or two. That isn't an exaggeration. Chinese people love a foreigner and many consider it good luck to have you hold their baby for a picture.

Aside from the pointing, staring and pictures, you get the mobs that follow you around everywhere you go. Sometimes, a photo shoot can last for 20 minutes if someone doesn’t stop them. It happened to my friends and I as we were visiting The Bund in Shanghai. Out of nowhere a guy approached a black member of our group and asked him if he was “NBA.” He assumed because my friend was tall and Black, that he must be an NBA player. And so the photo shoot commenced and lasted for quite a while.

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