Past Shenzhen the tone shifted: a blanket of brownish-yellow cloud sat low over gladed slopes, the humidity creating a visual effect like film grain. People in broad hats worked small rice fields directly abutting factories and stretches of highway. Chinese characters on highway signs.
“The first day was not good,” I said. “I think I helped 5 people fill out forms. it was awkward, and I didn’t make enough money to cover the rental van, but I thought it was a minor victory anyways and decided against returning the van that night. I called my friend Steve, who I’d been playing in a band with, and asked him if he was free the next day. He was up for it.”
We couldn’t find anywhere to park. Two police cruisers occupied the loading zone I had parked in the day before. I said, “we should probably just go home.”
I said, “this is not going to work.”