All was quiet on our western front. And eastern. In fact every front was conspicuously quieter than it should have been that evening, given the season in question. The air did not smell of sulfur and carbon and chlorine, or vibrate gratuitously with the report of recreational ordnance. Fireballs of blue and yellow and green did not rain down on balconies, or ricochet off buildings, or bounce upon the roofs and bonnets of cars. The ground was not sprinkled with the red, singed paper tesserae that decorate the sidewalks on Chinese New Year. The Year of the Horse arrived with a sprightly cantor, not thundering gallop; and the collective din of the annual snap, crackle, and pop was less of a bang than a whimper.
Hollywood has done a great job of immortalizing an unforgettable collection of tropes to live by (and to die by, if you recall any of those over-the-top death scenes) especially when it comes to personal bodily phenomena that most people can relate to, but don’t necessarily feel comfortable discussing in mixed company. From intestinal rumblings that result in explosive gaseous evacuations from either of two orifices, to the equally exaggerated effect of liquid regurgitation, it’s all about something violently spewing forth from the human body, while appreciative laughs from the audience fill the room.
It’s not every day you meet someone who has traveled across all 33 provinces of China, let alone an expat. Covering over 35,000 miles (that’s 56,000 km for the non-Americans) on his two-year journey, Tom Carter has rightfully earned the recognition of being “one of China’s foremost explorers” by The World of Chinese magazine. From his two-year journey came his first book, CHINA: Portrait of a People, hailed as one of the most comprehensive books of photography on modern China ever published by a single author.