Harvest Time

It is corn harvest time in our little corner of China. Out of the blue, all the corn fields surrounding the airport are suddenly gone. (I was half-expecting the harvest to be done entirely by hand, but they do have tractors here.) As we drove into town today, (one of the scariest things to be done in China is take a taxi down the country back roads), I noticed that the corn cobs were being laid out to dry on all the roofs of the houses. I had never seen so many tractors. They have all sizes, shapes and states of disrepair, but sorry Dad, not a John Deere in sight.

Drying Cobs

One thing about China – you are always acutely aware that this is a country of a billion people. Quite literally you cannot go 5 feet without seeing another person. I’ve been told that from the air all you can see is village after village after village. As we pass many farms on the way into the city, one could get the feeling that they were in the “country.” But it is not like the countryside in the US, where you can go miles and miles and even hours without seeing another person. On every little tract of land you see people tilling, harvesting, squatting and eating or just watching. On every corner, even if it is a desolate corner, you will see people standing around, waiting for something – what I am not sure. There is no sense of personal space and people here do not understand why someone would want to be alone. I do like being in the country, though, because even if it is still crowded, you do get a sense of what life is like for the peasants, and let me tell you, it is no luxury. I joke about us being high-rollers, but we are truly living a life of kings here. We try not to take it for granted, but what we spent on a taxi from the city is a month’s salary or more for many of our neighbors. I have never seen poverty, except for maybe in Cairo, Egypt, like I have seen here. There is a tremendous gap between classes here. Still, the peasants do seem happy… although I am sure I am only seeing a very surface view of their lives.

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