Sunday, July 1, 2007


Each time we approach a change of scenery that suggests a place less grandiose or wealthy than where we have been, somebody says, “So this is China.” As if this is the real China, and the rest is all a show or a movie set.

On the trip to the temples near Taiyuan, we pass through towns I that deserve the name of village. A few hundred people or less. Old-style houses with courtyards. Little community farm plots. Gripping poverty. All of it and more, just a few kilometers from cities bigger than any to be found in my home state. All of it in a country with high rise buildings that scrape an ever lower sky.

It’s all China.

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