Where is the blue sky of China? (from the 27th, oops)
I guess experiencing this smog/pollution problem of China makes me realize the importance of strict international environmental policies in order to avoid similar catastrophic air pollution effects in other areas. In some ways it is uplifting to know we live in a relatively clean air country but it is certainly discouraging to know the path that the current regime in Washington is taking us on.
Having said this, I could be wrong on where the pollution is coming from. My second theory to the industry one is the cigarette smoking. My personal polling suggests that 99% of the Chinese smoke cigarettes, and 85% of the population smoke more that two packs a day. There are more than 1 billion people in China. That is a lot of cigarettes. I think we are all in the wrong business. It is amazing to witness. If the smoking is not disgusting enough you can hang out to watch a few more minutes to witness the spitting that follows. Actually the spitting happens all the time, not just with the cigarettes, and I am not completely convinced that it is due to the cigarettes, it could be a side effect of the air pollution. The spitting here is not a simple spit of saliva; it tends to come from the back of the throat in a loud, sickening manner as though the person may keel over and die at any time.
Switching gears, the food here is quite tasty. We have tried a vast array of dishes and found most to be most delicious (although we have not ventured enough to try stomach, intestines, frog, song birds, scorpions, sea horses, ect). Some of the highlights are the Sichuan dishes, roast duck, and other names that I cannot remember. Most of it is really good. Another highlight is the good, cheap beer. I drank the cheapest beer of my life in Beijing for 2 Yuan, equivalent to about 25 cents, oh yeah, and it was a half a liter. We also found PBR, that's right, Pabst Blue Ribbon, maybe the best beer in the world, in a grocery store in Xi'an. We have pictures to prove it. They were the same price as at home.
The last couple days were spent hiking up the sacred Buddha mountain. It was quite stunning, nice to get out of the cities and into the wild (sort of wild that is). The pictures will tell the story on this one, hopefully I can take some time to figure out how to download some photos on a faster computer soon. We will be in Hong Kong within the week, that could be the ticket. Tomorrow we start the 3 day tour of the Yangtzee. Apparently the dam is finished and the water level is rising fast so the river is not as amazing as it once was but is still a great journey. I think this is all for now. tucker
I actually typed this on the 27th of April but the web page was in Mandarin and I accidently only saved and didn't publish so here it is now.