The Chinese Baby Scam

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Travel  |  House: Booksie Classic
In which I am left holding the baby.

Submitted: August 18, 2013

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Submitted: August 18, 2013

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It was 2007 and I was loitering outside the Forbidden City in Beijing. As much as a chunky Caucasian can in China, I was minding my own business, standing on a bridge over a canal or moat. The water was frozen, as it was December, and it was a brisk sunny day.

I had just finished doing a running tour of the Forbidden City. I only had about an hour to see the whole complex, which was a ridiculous idea - I spent the first 15 minutes fending off would-be tour guides and shills for an 'Art Show' that seemed to be a permanent fixture just inside the walls.

I was waiting for my friend Sandrine who was trying to score us some train tickets to Urumqi. This wasn't going to happen - it was a holiday, and every train was full - we'd end up flying, which is another story for another time. So I was just standing there watching the people.

Suddenly I was blind-sided by a lumpy oblong bundle of cloth being shoved into my arms. I looked around to find a Chinese man grinning at me. I looked down at the bundle to find I was holding a baby.

The baby was swaddled with only his pudgy little face showing. He was an attractive sort of baby, with pudgy cheeks and a solemn, Buddha-like expression.

Bemused, I looked back at the father, still grinning, and a woman whom I took to be the mother, who was holding a camera. She gestured at me.

"Cheese," I said. I wish now I had a copy of that picture. It's one of my favorite memories of that trip.


© Copyright 2020 Keith Welch. All rights reserved.

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