Anyway, maybe it was because I was tinged green, but for the moments when I crawled out of my very comfortable hotel (the Hotel Viking, book a room in the newly renovated wing), I couldn't help but noticed how very white everyone was. Well, rich-people-in-summer-white, which is to say, bronze.
When I was in Shanghai last month, I was reminded that the Western obsession with toasting is not shared worldwide.
In China, which certainly has its own ethnic tensions, but not (as I'm aware of) those relating to the amount of melanin in the skin, the obsession is looking as white as possible, as you can see in the colorful parade of parasols everywhere, what I can only describe as "forearm cozies" – handmade fabric coverings protecting the skin from the elbow to the wrist -- and for bicycle riders, what looks like a welding mask. (Although I think this is also to ward off projectiles.)