Before visiting China for the first time in August 2003, I truly expected to find clothes cleaners (洗染店 xǐrǎndiàn) all over the place. Was this the first thing on my mind as I landed in Guilin? No. It was the second. The first was “do I have SARS?”
Frankly speaking, I don’t recall seeing even one brick-and-mortar launderer in Guilin. Successive trips to China and Hong Kong have shown me that washing clothes is still very much done at home, and drying clothes is for ANYWHERE you can find space.
In order to do that, you first need to own clothes.
I’m not even talking about the bizarre sign. It looks like a store that sells fish, keys and blades, you know, not socks. MacGyver would be proud.
All of this thinking made me hungry.