2006 is ending
The last 2 weeks in Xi'an had been particularly polluted so the intervening weekend was spent watching 24 -fantastic stuff, even if it takes 20 hours to watch! There was also 3 days of presentations about Plan China's 5 year program plans: lots of complicated diagrams and technical words which i did not understand; but i could at least read half of the powerpoints -and if certain presenters spoke slower, maybe i could listen to more too (we had some english translation fortunately).
The excitement came from buying my birthday present; eating a 3 course italian meal; all-you-can-eat sushi and planning for the winter holiday. So I now write from an internet cafe in Anshun. A town that has sprung up in the last 10 years and is Chinese in every way (many small, run down shops, plus some fancy buildings, lakes and pagodas for example) -except for the fact that a lot of the people walking the streets (i.e. those that cannot afford cars) are ethnic minorities with different languages, clothing and customs to the Han Chinese.
The next 2 weeks will allow me and my Dad to see some more of these villages (rather than big towns), get some fresh air, see some nice scenery and backpack (only hard beds and bumpy minibuses from now on) across 2 of China's poorest provinces (though we won't have time to really get off the beaten path). Not sure how much of Christmas or New Year we will encounter -but it's not such a bad thing to escape the tacky music and lights that the big cities in China have thrown up everywhere!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone. Here's wishing to a year where more people start to actually do something about climate change, water, energy and related issues (rather than just caring), and one where politicians stop killing their own people in unsuccessful personal vetures and get back to less-selfish free trade, poverty reduction and equality. wishful thinking -but that's what i would have wished had candles and birthday cakes existed in Xi'an :)