the other day, yang qian and i walked from tianmian to the zhongxin plaza. we covered roughly two kilometres in slightly over one hour, stopping along the way to look at the memorial to sars heroes (lots of high-tech medical research and caring nurses), pose in front of bus stop advertisements (in this sense, irresistable), and check out what was happening curbside (an octopus floated in a tank and a man repaired a bicycle). we then stepped quickly past the women, who were using peddle sewing machines, like my grandmother used to use and my mother inherited to alter clothing, right there in the middle of our playground. and there’s the rub. shenzhen hasn’t zoned inequalityout of sight and mind, except during politically sensitive moments, when the poor are swept away. normally, the poor push back, crowding even those of us who like to think ourselves concerned. and we are concerned. just not all the time. just not that hot saturday afternoon when we wanted to play. so we put the camera away and ducked into an air-conditioned coffee shop, where our summer fun ended with a math lesson: one cup of coffee = hemming five pairs of jeans; one smoothie = six; a piece of cheesecake and one of walnut = five again. priceless.