Mei, a young village woman, leads a monotonous life in her dusty hometown in rural China. She works in a billiards hall and randomly dates local boys. The highlights of her days are borrowing a walkman to listen to pop music and sifting through rubbish imported from the west at the local recycling factory. The summer is unbearably hot and her heart is unfulfilled. One day, she leaves. Arriving in Beijing she starts working in a factory, sewing flags for different countries. But she is soon fired and ends up sweeping the floor in a hair salon. She is drawn to a young man named Spikey, who, like her, is a village peasant struggling in Beijing. Spikey works as a hit-man and an occasional killer for local mafia. She cuts his hair, he is attracted to her. But soon she realizes she is, for him, just like any of the other girls that he sleeps with.