Thursday, November 29, 2007


Although the purpose of the journalist's trip was to accompany one of our sponsoring companies on a visit to the villages they are funding a water project in, the journalist was more interested in the story of how the taxi driver screwed me and a colleague. Thus the website for Yulin City, in Shaanxi province has covers the story (in Chinese), but there is a photo.

Well, maybe famous is not quite the right word. Nonetheless yulin is an interesting city; in a poor area of China, half of it is desert and the city could not be much further from the sea. However Yulin is blessed with natural resources and going there is like going to California during the gold rush.

Although the average person in the countryside 5 miles away earns less than 1 USD a day, Yulin is getting a new airport, has 6 line highways stretching through the desert, has a brand new 15 story government building and countless other 30 story hotels and apartment complexes. Fortunately there is some knock-on effect for the poor (it seems), how much of the tax money goes to help them though is another question... Then there is the number of small companies that (almost literally) hire a digger and start digging up coal, bribing a local official to print the required certificate the next day if they find something. It is a city whereby coal and gas are cheaper than water.

Actually one of the highlights of the trip was visiting one family whose grandparents were in their 90s as the grandmother had bound feet. When she was a child (and this practice continued for hundreds of years, only ending about 50+ years ago) it was believed that a woman was more beautiful if she had small feet, so girls wrapped their feet in bandages to make the toes grow towards the heel in a 'n' shape. In some cases the toes would reach the heel, of course totally destroying the bone structure of the women who would walk around in agony for the rest of their lives. This lady (right) is already wearing a child's shoe and still her foot does not fill most of it (she walks on her tiptoes).


At 3:58 pm, Blogger Adam said...

another story online actually covers the visit by the company properly instead of just the taxi issue!


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