I satisfied my monthly tattoo fix today (the dreaded inside upper arm- I've got both right and left upper arms inked now and lived to tell about it, but damn if today wasn't 5 hours of the most righteous pain ever). It was at a typical Chinese tattoo parlor- meaning a make-up salon.
The obvious benefits are having a cute tattoo artist (the student of the afore-mentioned matriarch- pretty and petite but slow as hell: BZZZZ, wipe, BZZZZ, wipe. geez girl I'm not made of glass- grind it in there for a few moments, I can take it), as well as other workers and customers indulging their curiosity to see the infamous laowai inked up like a prison convict. Anyway, after the pain and subsequent rejoicing (pictures forthcoming), I went to the counter to make payment and was enthusiastically directed to the Red Cross donations box for the victims of the Sichuan earthquake. I yanked out my wallet, extracted some money, and proceeded to drop it in the box, when one of the girls told me to wait. One of her friends promptly yanked out a camera and the other girl cracked a beaming smile behind me as my hand held the money halfway in the donations box, a deer-in-the-headlights grin animating my face. A few photos were snapped, and I left the salon amidst a profusion of “谢谢's," which were probably more for the substantial sum I dropped on my new ink, rather than my well-documented donation to the Red Cross.
I headed down the narrow alley, feeling every bit the foreign bitch that I was.