Hashish? Marijuana?

21 09 2011

Friday night I thought I found a time & space machine and jumped back to my youth in Italy, especially the year of Politecnico University in Turin, when in the evening, with friends, we used to go to meet other firneds in the center of Turin.

At that time, end of the 90’s, if you were standing long enough at the same corner of the street (usually via Po area, Castello square), some dodgy figure would walk to you and ask, in shush tones: Hashish? Marijuana?”. Given that most of the time the product was a mix of spices (yeah, pizza spices) and dry dog shit, the place had a quite infamous reputation, even among light drug consumers!!

No. 88 pubSo, I was standing at the cross corner of Fuming Lu and Xinle Lu in Shanghai, at an apparently very popular and very lively area. At least a couple of pub/night clubs with a lot of activity: people getting in, lots of taxi stopping by, lots and lots of foreigners and a good amount of pretty Chinese girls, probably.. professional ones.. as a few friends told me later..

Anyway, I was just standing there, with my hair that are growing longer, my unshaven face, the Japanese t-shirt saying 酒人 (Jiǔ rén in Chinese, or sake bito in Japanese, for the same meaning: “wine man”.. or “party man”!).. when one young guy (looking more as an older teenager), came to me and asked:


what? shenme??

So surprised, I broke down in laugh..

The boy must have thought I was already on drugs and left..

Typical, as in Italy in the 90’s, in the 15 minutes I waited for my friend, I had been offered to buy at least 10 times!!

The sellers did not look particularly Chinese. My first idea was that they were form West China, then confirmed when reading that Chinese cannabis comes mainly from Xinjiang! Among them I can say there were a few appearing coming from even more West than Xinjiang.. Not surprised, since also in Hefei lots of criminality is related to that part of China.. but I don’t want to generalize..

Anyway, the whole corner, even with the kind of night life and vital energy I usually like, left me with the same feelings of Shanghai, a city with no soul



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