I'd said goodbye to Gongbei earlier in the week after I made what I'd thought would be my final shopping trip there. But a couple of days ago I remembered that I'd brought the tiny videocamera that I use for work to China with me, and I'd never even used it. So, just in time, I took it to my last class and asked my students to say hello to my family and friends back in America (those of you in Chicago will be able to view it soon, if you'd like).
Encouraged by the results, I realized that video would be by far the best medium to convey the sights and sounds of Gongbei (as well as those of other places I've traveled, but it's too late to revisit them armed with the videocamera). So I went back there this afternoon to document the back alleys and food markets, and I have to say that the results are quite vivid and evocative. After I get back, I plan to edit this post to add one or two of the videos; I've got a full plate awaiting me at home though, and this is relatively low-priority, so don't expect it for several weeks). But again, Chicagoans will be able to see them much sooner than that.