Xiamen is one of those rare places where tiki-style architecture (torches, grass-roof huts surrounded by coconut shells) is actually defensible. The only downside to this is that I constantly have the theme song to Gilligan’s Island in my head. Also, the ominous “3-hour tour” is a feature of our lives because we are always lost: overshooting, undershooting, or misfiring. I am used to this, having been lost for much of my life, but it drives Chris nuts. He keeps coming home with maps and atlases, even though they are in Chinese and orient us only in the most macroscopic sense. Speaking of orientation, we are pretty far south, so no one here seems concerned about radiation from Japan. We figure it’s good that our whole family adores salt. We have been packing on the iodine for years–as anyone knows who has eaten chips with Jonah. My Chinese friend says that people here tend to resign themselves to fate (lots of people believe in 2012), since they can’t depend on hospitals. Anyone who gets sick has to pay fees upfront, and then when they run out of money they die. It’s like a Scott Walker utopia! But, to be fair, everything is developing very fast here, and as people become more middle-class they’ll surely start finagling (if not explicitly demanding, as we do in the West) changes to the system. The Chinese people are confirmed gradualists, and with good reason.
Dan Lin on Three days after my return fro… Catherine Hubbard on Chongqing Mr. Luft on Café 1921 (by Jonah) janet sorby on Café 1921 (by Jonah) janet sorby on When we return…