susys running away to sea

"The rigors (sic) of an expeditionary lifestyle"

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Great Wall

After a three hour coach drive through flatlands covered in sweet corn, shrub and ... trees (I'll remember the name when I've finished), we got to spiky, jagged, pointy mountainous bits, having passed through only one small town - rather tatty, muddy, with crumbly courtyard walls, where fruit was sold by bored-looking farmers waiting at the roadside. Sadly, we whooshed on past them, so I'm not sure who they're selling it to.

I saw a sign saying 'ecological scenery', adorned with a panorama of luscious greenery, in front of scratty single storey brick shacks. Product placement not good... some of the roofs have bricks laid on top of them to keep them down. It's rather utilitarian and very shabby, unlike the smarter parts of Beijing. It's easy to see this is a country which is trying to improve itself, but there's a long way to go. That sounds so awful, that last sentence. I hope you know what I'm trying to say, without sounding condescending ... shades of empire linger on...

Kent tells us in his dry way how government dictat and interference with farming meant that as the farmers got nothing out of communal food production, they didn't bother working, so lots of people starved to death. This in the 50s, I think, maybe later, too. Now they can sell their surpluses, so they have an incentive. And I must say, the fruit looks delicious - but we only get tinned stuff at breakfast, with some melon.

Sorry - the Great Wall will have to wait. I have to go.

Tara, dux!


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