Monday, September 15, 2008

Chronicle from China - Sept 13, 2008

The people are as they always have been all my past trips - very gracious. You wouldn't believe the smog tho. Worse than what I remembered in Beijing. Today I'm southeast (pretty sure) of Shanghai many miles (don't know how many but it's hundreds). Flew into Hangzhou two days ago ( I know that's southeast of Shanghai) stayed the night there. Then yesterday drove about 3 hours to get here to Yongkang ... no sun, 'cept glimpses I got of it was over my right shoulder therefore I say I was driving south ... could not make out hills that were over mile away during the drive. Everywhere brick smokestacks, tho you can only see smoke coming out of some. I didn't know if that's because what's coming out is same color as the surrounding sky OR if those were just not operating at the moment. Shame, cuz many hills are the "typical" high cone verdant shapes that come out of the rivers areas ... types that you see in travel agent posters advertising China. This morning (I just got up) it's the same. Air you wear and taste. I imagine where this will put the people health-wise in about 20 years and the magnitude of problems they will face personally and eco nomically.

Their economy is being hit also. We in the US hear that China's "growth has slowed but that it's still double digits each year" which in the US would be good news, i.e. double digits. But the talk for average person here is in terms of thousands of factories that have closed. Hard to imagine "thousands of factories" but that's what I heard. A factory could be small ... plus were talking 1.4ish billion people in the same relative land mass (+ 10k sq miles = not much) as the US and nestled between mountains except for the vastness of the Golbe Dessert.

A lot (I mean a lot) of the land that comprises the hills and in between them that I saw on the way here is terraced for ag purposes. If there's soil, something's most likely growing on it that can serve people. Very green, very pretty. I kept asking myself on the drive, "Where's the sun?" I would be magnificent if there was blue sky and sunshine.

The town I'm in, Yongkang, is very very small - only 300,000 people. Hangzhou - which I'll return to tomorrow late after noon for another program there on 17-18 (16-17 your time) - is referred to as a small city = only 3 million people (kinda redefines Petaluma and Santa Rosa!!). I thought both programs would be in Hangzhou but plans changed due to an=2 0annual "autumn festival" ... kind of like our "harvest moon" or "blue moon" because (I was told) the moon is now full tomorrow and closest this moment to earth than any time in the year ... and people come back to their families for feast this weekend, especially this Sunday. A full moon it may be ... but no one will see. People from here (Yongkang) that were interested in the class were not too keen about traveling to Hangzhou to take a seminar cuz they want to party after the class with family. But they were A-OK about me coming here. So here I am.

If I can find cable linking camera to computer I'll download pix then will send. Guess I left that cable in haste to get out the door for trip here.
As usual I tap into KGO Radio 810 via the internet, so I can have "traffic on the 8's" throughout the day... hear the weather reports, listen to Ronn Owens in the morning your time (1am my time) and Gene Burns in the evening your time ... I'd be on way home from dojo at that hour (11am here). Now if I can just get KNBR Sports Radio 680 I'll be able to listen to the Giants play baseball. So much for "being here now" ... but I gotta have at least one vice.

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