Thursday, November 09, 2006

Changing Planes

I'm typing these words at Beijing International Airport, domestic gate 27. It's near lunch time here, four in the morning in my head. Not too badly zonked yet by sleep deprivation: the sunshine is bright and I accidentally bought a soda can of sweetened ice coffee with milk, branded Pokka. Couldn't read anything on the can, wanted to try some local stuff. The can was massive, almost twice the metal weight of a Western one.

Beijing smells of coal smoke and is wrapped in a faint ochre haze. Approaching for landing, we flew over something that looked a lot like a nuclear power plant with the characteristic truncated-cone cooling towers, surrounded by industrial sprawl and endless tenement housing blocks. And yet, as always in this country, there's small-scale agriculture on every spare scrap of land all the way up to the airport fence. The barbed wire festoons along its top are most likely there to keep guerilla subsistence farmers from planting qing cai along the runways. Urban zoning seems absent or at least negotiable.

My El Cheapo cell phone operator (dJuice) doesn't seem to have a roaming agreement with the locals, and not only is the wifi here blocked by a pay screen -- it's entirely in Chinese. So I can't get this on-line right away. Signing off at Wednesday lunch, 11:35 (GMT+8).



Blogger Miss Gillette said...

Det där inlägget ser vackert ut, som en prosadikt av Whitman eller så.

09 November, 2006 21:28  
Blogger Martin said...

It's because I have to e-mail the entries due to Chinese net censorship. I'm in Vietnam now, so I can clean it up.

12 November, 2006 10:06  
Blogger Miss Gillette said...

Lite synd nästan; layouten säger ju också en del om din situation. Ger en extra dimension til det skrivna, liksom.

12 November, 2006 11:39  
Anonymous Tommy Tyrberg said...

Apropos every square yard being farmed in China, this is no longer quite true.
When I first visited China back in the eighties it was, but in recent years I have noticed that the most awkward plots up in the hills are gradually being abandoned and turning into scrub. Whether this is because people are moving into towns or whether the now unabashedly capitalistic peasants concentrate on the more lucrative fields I don't know. Probably both.

13 November, 2006 20:17  
Blogger Martin said...

Hey, is that T. Tyrberg of Swedish Avifauna fame? Welcome!

22 November, 2006 03:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes it must be the same Tommy Tyrberg, I see his name and very good posts in many fora on the net. I thoroughly enjoy to read his books and writings.

26 April, 2007 13:45  

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