I feel like I've written this blog before, but my Chinese friend called last night and said he has been called back for more meetings. He will not be available for our meeting on May 13, sadly. I have decided to carry on anyway, and will have the planned meeting without him and carry on the best we can. We should stick with our plan to have Chinese food for our potluck that night in all its many wonderful forms. Judy will cook a pot of rice, so you can concentrate on delicious dishes of your choice.
I've finished reading River Town, which I found to be very good in detailing the ins and outs of small town life in rural China. The portrayals of the lives and the mentality of rural Chinese people was most excellent, and I will try and draw on the author's insights in my comments on the 13th. I would also recommend Country Driving by Peter Hessler which is similar in content. He lives in Beijing, has a country "writing studio" in a small town some distance from Beijing, and takes long drives along the Great Wall to have the adventures a traveler might have by doing such a thing. Both these books showcase the Chinese people through the eyes of a careful observer, and he writes very well. I highly recommend them.
Statistics about China cannot convey the reality of living in China. How things get done is so different than what happens here that I find myself asking questions and wondering about how people would put up with what seems to me to be a sort of crazy system. It works, after a fashion. At least for them.
For my distance participants (and there are several of you) I don't see how I can actually involve you if you don't leave comments or make some sort of noise with your questions, comments, and observations on the various topics we cover. I hope to hear from you!