It was the normal way to sit in China without putting any body parts on the ground. Anyone in pants squatted beside the road, waiting for the bus. Women in skirts stood demurely. Kids squatted, playing marbles, in the shade of the trees. Men with cigarettes and pants rolled up squatted to play cards. People on their lunch break squatted along the sidewalk with chopsticks and a tin box that held what they’d brought from home or what was served at the canteen.
It was a squatter’s world, and white people were shut out — too tall, too fat, too, well, white. Our two most effective diplomatic gestures in China of the early 80s were probably our abilities to pick up a single fried peanut with chopsticks and to squat in the shade of a tree enjoying a slice of watermelon.
The featured photo is of a market in Guangzhou. The guy is washing and selling chicken feet from which he’d make the big Renminbi. Chicken feet are a Chinese delicacy. The rest of the leg? Most of the chicken I ate in China came whole (without feet).