What Pegman Saw – Cement factory Pujiang No. 2

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. This week’s location is Songxicun in China. According to Google maps there is a cement factory just down the road from the village.

WPS - Cement Factory Pujian No2 190216

Songxicun, China | Gao Shian, Google Maps

Cement factory Pujiang No. 2

I don’t normally notice the smell of burning plastic in the village, but I’ve been shopping elsewhere and the smell seems strong when I return.

I prepare some broth and take it to my mother, who is sitting in bed with a threadbare blanket around her shoulders. Her skin is like crepe, her cheeks sunken. Her eyes, circled with purple rings like bruises, are shut as though they are hurt by even the dim light that creeps under the curtain. She coughs, violently. The sputum that dribbles down her chin is dark with blood.

“Mother, I have brought chicken broth with noodles. Your favourite!”

I sit close to her and sip by sip, spoon by spoon, I feed her until she moans, “Stop! No more. You’ll choke me.”

They say the cement factory Pujiang No. 2 is burning waste, and that the fumes cause cancer. Could that really be true?

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What Pegman Saw – Tropical Paradise

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. This week’s location is the British Virgin Islands, noted for sailing, watersports, luxury hotels and tax dodging.

WPS - Tropical Paradise 190209

Tropical Paradise

“Oh, stop pestering me! You know I hate tours. You go on your cruise and I’ll stay here and sunbathe.”

“And drink,” thought Roland, sourly. He gave Denise a peck on the cheek. “Okay. See you Thursday.” By the time he reached the quayside he was whistling cheerfully.

A dip in the pool. A gin. Lunch on the terrace followed by a pampering session in the spa. As Denise dressed for dinner, she felt toned and attractive. “Not bad for forty,” she commented, sidelong, to the mirror.

As Denise ordered a martini she smiled at Leo, immaculate in linen suit and lilac tie, who was sitting alone at the bar.

“Roland went on the tour then?” he asked.

“Oh, yes, And Helen?”

Leo nodded.

“Would you join me for dinner?” he suggested.

Meanwhile, Helen and Roland, close and intimate in a single berth, didn’t spare their spouses a second thought.

What Pegman Saw – Carpe Diem

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code.

WPS - Carpe Diem 190202

Carpe Diem

Inwood Hill Park may seem an odd place for a first date, but Mark and I both grew up in the country. We picnicked and agreed that, while this wasn’t countryside, you could at least smell the earth rather than gasoline.

I was thrilled by Mark’s job as a Wall Street trader, and he seemed fascinated by the celebs I interviewed for ‘Vogue’.

We were an ideal match. We soon married, and I went part-time to be a home-maker.

And it worked, it really did. For fifteen years we loved and cherished, and raised a couple of kids.

And then, abruptly, it didn’t work anymore. Was it really Mark’s affair that drove us apart? Was I really the ‘over-critical bitch from hell’? Whatever. We divorced.

I buried him last week. He was only fifty. How I wish we’d not chased the perfect but enjoyed the good while we had it.

What Pegman Saw – Last Night Nerves

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. As regards the link with the location, Tallinn has some very nice restaurants – sorry it’s so tenuous!

wps - last night nerves 190126

Talinn, Estonia | Daniel Pettersson, Google Maps

Last night nerves

She looked radiant. He was nervous, constantly rummaging in the pocket of his jacket. I gave them my best smile and a menu each.

He stammered while ordering, and checked repeatedly with the young woman exactly what she wanted.

“Would you like red wine with the duck, Margit? They would go well together. Or – how presumptuous of me to assume you want wine! – perhaps you would prefer something different altogether?”

“Red wine will be lovely, Andrus.”

She seemed to greatly enjoy her meal, but he picked at his, pushing it round his plate with his fork and leaving half of it.

“I’m sorry Andrus left so much,” said Margit as she paid. “He is ill – a brain tumour.”

Andrus pressed a 50 Euro note into my hand. “More use to you than me,” he said, white-faced.

They left.

The door had hardly closed behind them when two shots rang out.

What Pegman Saw – The Loser

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. This week’s location is Radium Springs, GA.

wps - the loser 190119

The Loser

How long had he been sitting here by the pool?

It must have been hours since he left the casino. The Grand Hall had thronged with visitors, showing off under the glittering chandeliers. In smoky anterooms small groups of obsidian-eyed men had played poker – serious poker for serious money. Palatial bedrooms upstairs catered for those who preferred their risks to have a more tangible and immediate reward.

The casino’s chandeliers were extinguished, and the light that had sneaked through chinks in the shutters had gone. It was pitch black, and the rain hammered down. It drenched Tom’s tuxedo, ran down his trousers, spilled from the turn-ups.

Despite the raindrops crazing its surface, the pool glowed faintly blue from its radium content. What would drowning feel like, he wondered?

He was so lost in thought that he didn’t hear the woman until she spoke.

“Come home, Tom. You’ll catch your death.”

 

 

What Pegman Saw – Unwelcome Guests

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. This week’s location is Mumbai, India.

wps - the unwelcome guest 190112

[1] Mehndi – elaborate designs in henna. It is believed that the more intense the colour, the more your husband will love you.

[2] Sangeet – the day before the wedding ceremony. Guests are received, and there is entertainment, often on a lavish scale.

Unwelcome Guests

The Juhu Club was a wonderful venue for Tarangi and Mithin’s wedding. Its walled gardens accommodated eight hundred guests without any sense of crowding. Two thousand rose bushes perfumed the evening breeze, whose gentle warmth was a caress. Scores of chefs, sommeliers and waiters ensured the guests were never without refreshment.

Tarangi glanced with delight at the mehndi[1] on her arms. Its darkness meant that Mithin would love her very much indeed. She exulted in the heavy gold jewellery that her father, Pralay Gangulay, had given to her at the start of this, her Sangeet[2]. It must be worth a fortune, she gloated. The metal glowed in the flickering light of the torches illuminating the scene.

“Thank you so much, Baba,” she said again, beaming at him.

But why were the police here? And who was this small, bespectacled man?

“Gangulay-sahib, I arrest you on charges of tax evasion.”

Note

Indians are no fonder of paying taxes than anybody else. To avoid detection they sometimes keep the money in cash and use it to pay for events such as an extravagant wedding.

What Pegman Saw – Overcoming

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. It’s been quite a while since I last wrote a Pegman story – many thanks to Karen for providing such a stimulating prompt this week!

WPS - Overcoming 181215

Garnet Mountain Fire Lookout, Big Sky, Montana

Overcoming

It was four o’clock before Jodie parked her old compact under the trees at the trailhead. The nervous tension of driving had taken its toll. She was pooped.

She checked her backpack; sleeping bag, meals, and water, with bear spray easily accessible. All very well for her therapist to encourage her to face her fears; he wasn’t likely to run up against a live bear.

She climbed. It was tough. Even before she reached the tree line she was wondering whether to turn back.

“Keep going, girl,” she muttered to herself. “You daren’t let yourself be beaten this time.” Every rustle from the forest brought thoughts of wild animals.

The sky was awash with the aftermath of sunset as she arrived at the shelter. She nibbled a sandwich and watched the day fade. One by one the stars appeared, until the Milky Way arched gloriously across the heavens.

Jodie wept.