Connecting Mandarin and English,
Back at Home in Nanchang
(September 15, 2008) (return
plan for the morning was to tour the zoo which was across the street
from our hotel. The plan was damped literally by rain, which proved to provide
us with a mid-morning stroll essentially alone in a beautiful environment.
We did have to not gasp too loudly as we observed some of the conditions
in whichthe animals lived. We have become much more animal rights conscious
The elephants were hobbled so they could not move and the pens were full
of crap, literally. Optimistically we hoped this was pre-morning clean-up.
The collection was modest but clouded by the rain and the living conditions.
Back on the train we zipped back to Nanchang
at some 200km/h arriving with another 5,000 or so of our dearest and closest
friends. There was a line outside waiting for the dear 232 bus, essentially
all college students. The line quickly dwindled and we found seats on the
third or fourth bus. Traffic was heavy and so we arrived in our apartment
about 7:30PM at which time we quickly switched gears and started preparing
for the week's classes.
One of the highlight on the return trip on
the train was we went right by the place where Yiqi grew up on the farm
and where she worked brewing spirits as a young girl. Thousands of homes,
millions of apartments and this one viewing made the trip very special.
To be a part of the history of these families is a treat granted to few.
Truly we are blessed.
A note about Chinese farms:
don't understand farming here yet, and if you do, please help me.
People don't own the land like in America; when they buy it, they're
essentially buying the right to use it. After several years of use,
they (I guess it's a community or regional governmental board) redistribute
the land among the farmers and as a farmer you may end up with better
or worse land.
Along the railway we saw many smaller
buildings, about three or four stories tall, I suppose to minimize
the footprint on the precious land, which we were told were the
homes of farmers. Many appeared to lack windows and so we asked
if this was in the process of building or deteriorating. Construction
was the answer, but they've run out of money.
The fields were small and very level
for flooding the rice. Rice crops are tall, even and laid out like
a patchwork quilt. They should be ready to harvest in a month or
so. Hopefully we've get out again to see that process.
The next step will be to complete the medical
exams with our doctors to determine our health. We've seen the forms and
it seems like there is some concern about our sanity and Sars.