Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Billions Of Chinese Phones Love Big Nose

On my September trip to China it seemed to me a large percentage of the country's 1.2 billion people were talking on their mobile phones, sending texts or surfing the internet. I saw the phones in the hands of parents commuting through traffic with children hanging off their electric scooters. In the country side I noted farmers chatting. While zooming at 200 Km per hour on a high speed train, fingers flew playing internet games. 

While wearing rented 17th century costumes boyfriend snaps mobile phone photos of girlfriend in Beijing's Forbidden City last month.

And the Chinese were snapping photos with their phones of everybody and everything. In the park with grandma and grandpa, tourists dressed in Qin dynasty costumes, pictures of photographs hanging at photography festivals. Even pictures of photographers standing in front of their photographs at photography festivals.

A recent report claimed that among the 1,200,000 citizens of China, there were 1,104,000 mobile phone users. Gee that seems high, even noting that maybe people have multiple handsets or SIM cards. But come to think about it, though, as a Westerner I must of had a cel phone camera pointed at me nearly a billion times.

While baby sleeps mother stays connected with smart phone while visiting the Longman Caves in Luoyang, Henan Province, China.

Every day, often multiple times an hour, while walking down the street I would catch several faces smiling at me, with one of their party trotting up to me for a photo. Smile, "ha ha ha ha" and thank you in English and Chinese. Then the shooter and the subject would change places, others would see the activity, waiting their turn to be photographed with the "Dabizi".

I learned to pronounce it "Dah - be - zerrr", "big nose" or "long nose", the Chinese description for foreigners. I figured that described me pretty well, so I embraced the term.

In September street performer sings for tips at night market while baby-toting mom (right) photographs the Big Nose, Kaifang, Henan Province, China.

 One afternoon I was completely pooped from walking in an amusement park for hours in the heat and humidity, so I bought a cold bottle of juice and was leaning on a tree while the multitude surged around me. I felt a gentle nudge on my back, and turning, discovered a teen age girl sneaking close to have her picture taken with the visiting Big Nose. She was to shy to talk to me, so I turned around and gave her camera phone toting boyfriend a big grin.

Last month young woman commuting home on electric scooter pauses to text, Anyan, Henan Province, China.

OK the headline at top is a bit of hyperbole, a billion Chinese weren't really shooting my picture, nor a million, and I doubt if no more than a bunch of dozen zoomed in on me. But I had fun meeting so many Chinese who were friendly and genuinely curious about a Big Nose.

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