Friday, August 10, 2007

Chinatown is wasted on the Chinese. I stood at the northwest corner of Dundas and Spadina, the heart of Chinatown, waiting to meet Siqi, who by all measures is nowhere near as lethargic as his blog may indicate. Chinatown on a sweltering, humid night is as much a part of life in Toronto as anything. The streetcars trundle up and down on Spadina day and night, and cars squeeze by in between the streetcar right-of-way and the towers of rotting garbage on the sidewalk. People squeeze by in between towers of rotting fruit and those of fresh fruit, mysterious herbs and unidentifiable trinkets.

The reason Chinatown is wasted on the Chinese is that those of the Chinese persuasion can, presumably, make sense out of the literal fish market that is Spadina between Sullivan and College. The rest of us, however, are treated to a bewildering neighbourhood in the heart of Toronto. Tiny peasant women sell bras and impossibly cheap mangoes, smoking children sell knockoff movies and generally whatever else they can get their hands on. Meanwhile, strung-out junkies stagger past in coveralls, making their way to that mysterious place where Chinatown's crazies congregate. Their crazies have to be crazier than our crazies, I imagine, our crazies being the garden-variety crazies you see all over town. For that reason alone in Chinatown, it's worse to be in the know than out of it.

No comments: