Thursday, September 27, 2007

More Technical Difficulties

The foreign tourist screaming obscenities at the tranquil lake would almost have been comical if she were not me. But she was. I was giving the locals an impromptu vocabulary lesson because I’d just made one of the dumbest mistakes of my traveling career.

The day started out well. Pipi and I found the lake, and were starting to see what it was the guidebooks saw in Hangzhou. It’s a lovely lake. It’s very big, and on the day we visited, the atmosphere was very heavy and hazy, so much that you could barely see modern buildings on the far side. The view mostly consisted of the willow trees lining the shore, and the little wooden boats cruising the water. Even though the boats are all for tourists, it still looked like a Chinese landscape painting. It was very picturesque, but unfortunately, there will be no pictures because I dropped my camera right into the depths of this lovely body of water.

Pipi says it seemed to happen in an instant, but from my perspective, it seemed like slow-motion. I sat down in one of the tourist boats with my camera in a soft case slung over my shoulder. The case closes with Velcro, but I hadn’t really fastened it. As I sat down, the case bumped up against my leg, the top popped open like a Pez dispenser, and my camera slid out, right over a low railing. It seemed to teeter on an exterior ledge a few inches above the water for about half an hour, but I still couldn’t move fast enough to grab it. It tottered in and disappeared immediately without a single bubble. I always wondered if it floated; now I know.

So there will be no further photos until I calm down and figure out what to do about this situation.

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