Group Email update from July 6, 2009:
I am sitting in my hotel room tonight, alone for the first time in 12 days. The hectic schedule and roomates up until this point has made it all but impossible to have a few minutes to yourself. I am currently in Anshun in a hotel compound. Tonight the travel guide told us to lock our windows, don’t go out at night, and don’t answer your door if you are not sure it is someone you know. We have stayed in 5 star hotels up until this point, so it is an interesting change. However, I am not worried.
The drive in today was gorgeous. We are in Guizhou province which I am told is the location of many films involving China. Think rich green rice patties with a backdrop of distinct mountains. Every inch of soil outside of town it utilized for farming. There are no yards in this mountain valley. The main crops I have seen are rice, corn, sunflowers, and lots of sorghum. I’ve seen 2 horses, 1 cow, some ducks, about 25 or more water buffalo, a few cats, and lots of dogs. It is a very poor area, but like Beijing and Xi’an, there are construction projects everywhere.
After spending close to a week in Xi’an, it is an interesting change. Xi’an is a medium size Chinese town at around 7.5 million (New York size). Today, we flew into Guiyang, which is considered a small Chinese city with only 3 million people. Remember that Beijing has a population of 14 million. The scale of things in a county that is home to more than 1/6 of the Earth’s population is just vast.