Wheeee! I’m in China!!

China! A long and winding road has brought me to the doorstep of the Middle Kingdom. How and why I got here is as complex as Chaos Theory, tied together by a grannie knot imbedded in String Theory. Shenzhen, China, Special Economic Zone, Deng Xiaoping’s hope for a brighter China, glittering and glowing in the evening sky. I’ve arrived.
And what did I leave behind? I barely looked back as my plane strained and arched skyward, a land I know only too well fading into the hazy sunset of New York City. Ahhhh, only 16 hours on the plane, and I’ll be in Hong Kong….



Hooray. bin Laden is dead. The faces of the exuberant triumphal armchair warriors in Times Square has made it all ok. With bin Laden dead, we have exacted revenge for a great tragedy. Or so we think. What a pitiful ending for a tragic figure. But what is not so easy to kill is an idea. An idea is like a weed. Once it’s started growing, it’s almost impossible to kill. Perhaps it would have been better to let bin Laden languish in prison, wasting away to nothingness. Perhaps this is much better than going out in a blaze of glory, taken down by the elite of the elite special forces. We shall see.

Where are all the people?

1.4 billion people.  When I try to digest that number, it swirls into the same confusion I approximate when attempting to contemplate the U.S. debt.    Billions?  Trillions?  I had 12,000 yuan in my pocket once, and that seemed like a huge amount of paper.   To imagine 117 times that amount of cash seems fruitless.  And so it is when I try to conjure up 1.4 billion people, not even one of which would fit in my pocket. 

1.4 billion is roughly the current population of China.  From afar, trying to imagine that number of people in one country elicits mental pictures of people living in 10 square meter boxes, wedging themselves into any available space.  But such is not the case.

Just take the bullet train from Guangzhou to Hubei.  I can see for miles and miles…

Walk along Tiger Leaping Gorge, or the deserts of Gansu, go to Xichong beach near Shenzhen during the off season.  Barely a soul appears. 

1.4 billion people?  Where?  I’m sure that number is not far off, but rarely do I experience such a mass of people.