Mostly every day in China feels like an episode of Punk’d but after two years of being here most of it doesn’t really raise my eyebrows anymore. Having said that every now and again there are some experiences that just seem to blow my mind. Right now on a flight from Shanghai to Macau one is happening.
So I’m busy working on in this airplane (it’s another weekend of tasting menus, pretending I’m 21 again, lights, martinis and most importantly THE ROLLING STONES.
So the plane is an hour late, but this is common place in China, in fact so much so that now when I get on to the plane I sit down and start working because I’m pretty much guaranteed to get in at least an hour of peaceful work before anything starts to move.
As I begin to type away heavily into some random presentation or email I see out of the corner of my eye a 20 something year old Chinese girl, we shall refer to her as Princess, applying hand cream to her hands out of a tub, scooping out one glob of glop after another with her pointer finger and rubbing each and every square inch of her hands. This has gone on for the entire wait on the ground until her hands are so saturated with moisture that as we take off she presses the ‘call button’ incessantly until the seatbelt lights go off and an airhostess comes. She asks for one of those alcohol soaked hand towels in the little foil packet (yes I’m in economy class for these two hours and the hand towels are those thin antiseptic ones not the magical preheated fluffy face clothes) anyway I digress.
She now gets one of the afore mentioned towels and barks at the air-hostess that she needs more, the airhostess scuttles off to find the Princess creep show more. In the meantime Princess is not trying desperately to tear open the slippery silver packet but she may as well have lubed up her entire body, dived down an ice sled run and then try stop midway using her baby toenails as breaks. Airhostess returns with a pile of clothes and Princess tells her to open them, airhostess opens 5 of them and Princess snatches them back.
She then proceed to use them to wipe off the grease on the now saturated hands, not just the excess but like lady fucking Macbeth out damn spotting until I swear she has taken off a layer of skin. In the meantime between each scrubbing session she has a bag now on her lap that perhaps could house Revlon fucking R&D department and between scrubs she is squirreling around in there like winter is approaching and she lost her last acorn.
Now sufficiently degreased she takes to her finger nails, clipping each one five or so times so the million little shards of keratin have littered the plane like confetti and she is satisfied. Thankfully at this point she has to begrudgingly release her bag to the floor as the food arrives.
She brings her now perfectly groomed hands up to her mouth grasping the airline food container and using her spoon to shovel the contents into her tilted back head at a rate faster than I’ve seen POWs do after coming out of Taliban torture camps. That lasted all of three minutes.
After all we must not distract from the mission of beauty perfection in the two hours we have to Macau the city of celebrities, stars and glamour.
Bag back on lap and squirreling continues at a more frantic pace than before. Out comes eyes drops, mystery liquid and a face mask. A FUCKING FACE MASK! Eye drops applied I watch in utter disbelief as she puts on a face mask as if it’s a Wednesday afternoon at the salon with the girls.
She now barks at the airhostess something I don’t understand, the airhostess returns with a frequent flyer membership application. Needless to say after being on the ground for an hour and in the air for an hour with this bizarrely frantic human being, I’m never flying Air Macau again, I’m never even going to Macau again for fear of having to spend another minute next to this bizarre creature.
Just another day in China that makes pretty much every moment feel like a cross between Punk’d and a Japanese game show.