Photographs and Stories

For China International Radio

 

Stories and photography by: Igal Peeri

 


 

 

The Girl from the Parking Lot

 

Up until a few minutes ago, the parking lot was bustling with activity. Hundreds of trucks drove down from the mountains, lining up in rows of three as if in anticipation of the Olympics' opening ceremonies. The drivers had something to drink, checked that their loads were tightly secured and covered well and gave their tires a kick or two. One more dish of Mother's rice and off they drove to conquer the world.

 

The lot empties out. The girl could have chosen any corner to sit and eat her breakfast, but she has one particular spot in mind. She takes the small crate and sits down right in the middle of the enormous parking lot.

 

She takes a quick glance at her watch. She has 10 minutes until the next convoy rambles into the lot.

 

Suddenly, her cell phone rings. It's her mother. If she answers, she'll miss the  grand entrance, and if she misses that, the day will be ruined.

 

 

 

The Princess on the White Horse

 

Atop the Great Wall of China, in the midst of an attempt to stabilize the equilibrium of the world, a horse suddenly appears. A real horse. Pure white.

 

Sunset is only two hours away. The three men standing near the horse look like they're casually discussing the local weather, but in effect, they're closing a big business deal. Maybe the Great Wall of China is being sold and a never-ending shopping mall will be built upon its ruins.

 

The horse says that it all looks like a scene from an old movie. He's just waiting for the princess. She promised she would come, but then again, that's what she always says. He waits with baited breath for that magical moment of her arrival. Then they will set out together, the princess and the white horse.

 

Here They Come

 

All those people. Where are they going? Where are they coming from?

 

If you look closely, you'll see that the ramp they are walking on is perfectly level. It's impossible to tell if the passersby are ascending or descending.  

 

Somehow, the light rain and the parade of umbrellas battling the wind add a touch of wild frivolity to their serious demeanor.

 

And so they will return home, these warriors of the wind. Amused, cheerful and good-hearted.

 

Locks

 

The lock is an oath that every couple seals with an everlasting kiss. It is interesting to note that, as time goes by, the elements that are used to make the locks continue to develop and improve. They can last forever.

On the other hand, as time goes by, promises made by people begin to crumble and sometimes don't even last until the first rain.

 

Floating Wood

 

When you climb down the peak, you pass through the forest. A forest of tall, willowy trees. In this season, it seems as if the trees are not connected to the ground; they float and the treetops reach the heavens.

 

Wong, the guide, is a top-rate fellow. He won seven medals for wrestling, bantam weight, and he has two doctorate degrees in economics and literature. His serious nature is only rarely offset by a burst of laughter.

 

Now, as they hike down into the forest, Wong's voice drifts up to the treetops, in songs of yearning for those dancing girls who make his head spin. The girls he missed on the path of his life.


Zhu the Pilot's Bicycle

 

When Zhu, the pilot, shows up in the morning, he's singing. He pedals up to the airplane on his bicycle but he doesn't get off; he continues to slowly pedal around the craft a few times to make sure no one stole a wheel or two.
After that, he revs up the engine and all the passengers board in a single breath. Then off he flies, to faraway lands. No matter how far he goes, he always makes it back exactly at four p.m. for an easy and pleasant landing.
Before returning the plane to his maintenance crew, Zhu circles the craft once again. Suddenly, he stops. He pulls out his silk handkerchief, wipes off the crossbar and the seat and with a slight nod of the head, sums up another perfect day!

 

Guns and Cameras

 

At the University of Cinematography at Guangzhou in South China, there are 5000 students. This is a private university. One morning, the university's director phoned "Sony" and ordered 1000 video cameras of broadcasting quality. The cameras were delivered that very day and within two months became an inseparable part of the students' bodies.

 

There were those who scoffed at the project and snidely remarked that the cameras were hooked up intravenously to the students' veins. The University's administration issued a denial and organized an urgent press conference.

 

"Two months ago, I visited a small country that was surrounded by enemies," said the Dean. "Everywhere I went, I saw soldiers carrying guns, guns that had already become a part of their bodies. It was a difficult sight and I couldn't sleep for several nights. Today, I am trying to make sure that by winter, the guns will be replaced by camera. It's important and worth the effort, even if it means giving up on all the wars in the world."

 

The Radish Garden

 

Amidst the towering houses that cross the sky on their way to break through the atmosphere, a small yet festive garden grows. Tchai and his 90 year old wife Dik water it faithfully with their small watering can.

 

Every morning, they wake up to greet the garden, and after a few minutes, the garden awakens to greet them.

 

In the beginning, the government tried to appropriate this garden as part of China's economic conquest of the world. But they failed.They tried again and again but to no avail. No accountant could possibly quantify the amount of joy one radish patch can bring to 90 year old Tchai and Dik, as they embrace one another  and look out  over the flourishing garden.

 

The House

 

The house is a simple house. Two windows, a door, and a few underpants and undershirts hanging on the sill.
So what gives this house the intimacy and warmth of a home? Maybe it's the tall trees or the path that surrounds the house. Maybe it's the

people who live there.

 

The Actor


Chuck studied acting for 5 years. Now, he can play Romeo with his eyes shut. But when he shuts his eyes, Chuck sees his grandma, Jai Mae and remembers his first performances in her backyard.
Preparations for that festival took an entire week. Lights, curtains, hats, and his parents' wedding clothes. Grandma Jai Mae taught him more about theater back then than all his teachers combined. When she passed away, he wanted to sing a song by her graveside. He wanted to tell her one more time how much she meant to him, to ask her right there, in front of everyone, why she left him all alone. But his voice betrayed him and he couldn't utter even one word.
The audience held its breath. They admired his reserved manner that unassumedly pulled at the heartstrings of the mourners.
He tried once more. Nothing. A wave of embarrasment washed over the graveside. Then, when no one else noticed, his grandmother lifted up her head a tiny bit, winked at him from the bowels of the earth, blew him a kiss and said: "Hey, my son! As usual, you made me very happy!"


20,000 Students for 20 Spots


The Central Bank publicized openings for twenty positions at their branches. Twenty-thousand students didn't sleep for a month. Suits were sewn, shoes were bought, hair styled and dyed, and special course taken to learn how to describe oneself enthusiastically and with conviction.
The interviews are held on the football field. Each student is allotted twenty seconds to present himself. Twenty seconds and life could be completely different. The students know that this is a vicious and inhumane method, but they know they must take part in this blood-race.
And so it is. Even if they do not get accepted, many will quickly forget that there is a soul, feelings, imagination and one thousand other things that can't be counted in twenty seconds.

 

 

 

 

 

See you soon !