Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Friday, June 13, 2008

Beihai Sea. It's time to leave again. Tomorrow I fly to Beijing. It's a different feeling leaving this time..I guess because I know that the Beihai I see now is soon going to be a very different place. I don't know...maybe it won't change that fast. Beihai is a laid back town. Several times I have come up to a rickshaw driver with money in my hand ready to hire him or her for a ride to down to the Seafood Island, and had the driver point at a motorcycle. No problem, those guys are generally willing to take you anywhere for three kuai. Sometimes they try to get more, especially if it is quite a distance, but most of the time three will do it. I guess there is a helmet law of some kind in Beihai, because often the biker I am riding with hands me a hardhat to wear while I am riding behind him, as if that would protect me in an accident. Half the time it is so small, I have to hold it to keep it from flying off. But if it keeps the guy from getting a 100 kuai fine, oh, well. One bad thing about the motorcyclists is that they sometimes like to run red lights. With cars and motorcycles whizzing by in front of you and right behind you, it is a bit unnerving. But it is an exhilarating feeling to get through an intersection and realize that you are still in one piece.

Things are always changing in this world, and in China it seems so much more so. Now Beihai has been targeted for development by the government. Good for the economy, I guess, but the increase in business so often brings with it a loss of simplicity. I hate to wish failure on any enterprise that promises to bring prosperity to people who are hoping for a better life. But if this new plan doesn't manage to bring millions of people to this little town, I don't think I'll shed any tears. And the people shouldn't be too disappointed if things don't quite turn out they way they are hoping. After all, they got a nice big new airport out of the deal. Pretty fancy, but not too tough to deal with. No need to worry about which gate to go to. Just look for the one with the plane parked next to it.

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