Shanghai, China

Monday, September 16, 1929

Have spent approximately $80 in the last month. This Shanghai money system gets me down. Never know for sure whether I am paying the correct amount, and nearly always get a mess of crackers (coppers) shoved at me for change. When you carry a couple dozen of these cartwheels around they weigh you down like lead.

Last night I read Percy Marks’ The Plastic Age. Seems I have read it before somewhere. This afternoon I read Booth Tarkington’s Seventeen—a darned good funny book and too true. The Y has a nice library, gym and pool. Movies are often shown in the gym for the servicemen.

Took my Kodak to the Eastman Co. and had it adjusted and new bellows put in. Damages $10 Mex. and too durned much. If it doesn’t take perfect pictures from now on I shall jump overboard. Have [not] been able to reach the Gows by phone for two days so called [on them] tonight after dinner to say good-bye. Mr. Gow is at the hospital having his tonsils out and Mr. Caynes was at their place. Had a couple of drinks and a talk on India and Egypt. Mr. Caynes got places during the war and Mrs. Gow has spent time in Salonica.

The old town is just as fascinating and attractive as ever. Rather hate to leave. You see some repulsive sights here though. For instance, tonight a half naked man standing on a corner, his body a mass of large sores, many of them open. Kids with these scalp sores. They stick a dirty piece of paper over the open sore and let it go at that. Beggars hideously deformed and mangled. One especially I saw in Chinatown, in fact there were four in the group, three sitting on the ground and the fourth standing—such as it was. His south end was exactly like that of a cow—absolutely no flesh there, the bones protruding cruelly from under the blue pants that hung limply where there should have been a stomach. His torso was bent at an acute angle to the ground, the back stiff and unmovable up or down. There the creature stood as if in constant pain, his head as low as his knees, an old faded blue jacket hanging limply on the protruding bones of his back—arms mere skin and bones. Every so often one of the beggars would rise and very gently stroke his arms. Such a position must have been a constant torture. Such creatures are much better dead than alive.

Strangely enough I have been unable to buy either a diary to anywhere match this one, nor a guidebook on Japan—except a large one that costs too much for just a month’s stay.

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