I'm tired of reading, so thought I'd share some thoughts and observations of China...
It's jungle weather here at the moment, hot, steamy and wet but, luckily, I've just discovered that I have an air-conditioner in my room! And it works!! Whatever next...? A hitherto unnoticed sprung mattress...? Well, here's hoping...!
The Chinese rarely sit down. They squat on their haunches or perch on ridiculously tiny, low, milkmaid type stools. Their ability to remain in this position for long periods of time possibly stems from having knees to die for and the way in which they were toilet-trained as children. The crotch of the children's trousers is split, in some cases, from front waist band to back waist band and when the time is right (I'm not sure how they judge this), the parent squats over the gutter (or similar) with the child suspended in their arms, bottom facing down, and nature is allowed to take its course. Toddlers are encouraged to continue this practice by just squatting down whenever the need arises, wherever they may be. The strange thing is that there is never any evidence of this course-taking by nature on the pavements, etc. Whether it's the myriads of very conscientious road-sweepers, who risk life and limb in amongst the traffic, I don't know, but, in any event, nappies are practically unknown.
The babies are, almost uniformly, adorable and most of them are transfixed by me! I think it must be my hair, which, in this weather (I know, I know!), has started to resemble candy-floss, quite unlike their mothers' sleek, glossy tresses.
Card-playing, chequers and mah-jong are all national obsessions. Everywhere one looks there are groups of people of all ages, very young and very old and everything in between, sitting on tiny chairs, round tiny tables, playing. Being so inclusive, it does make for a great social scene and stops the isolation of those with no family. Family, of course, being the great strength, and secret of the survival, of Chinese communities. They stick together, support each other in times of hardship and help each other out. I think that they are appalled at the notion that I have abandoned mine!! (Not for long, my dears, not for long!).
The average size of a Chinese girl is about 6, certainly no more than 8, and some are exquisitely beautiful. The boys, however, are real peacocks! The girls almost all wear their hair in a ponytail, with a fringe, while the boys have the most elaborate, asymmetrically-cut, bouffant hairstyles and are constantly preening themselves! One also sees tiny little old ladies who are bent almost double and unable to straighten up - years of being used as beasts of burden having taken their toll.
Education is vital for the kids if they are not to remain rooted to their dismal, fly-, mosquito-, cockroach-ridden villages. It is indicative of how bad things were in the past that the Chinese do not see their villages as places where nothing works properly and are, instead, very proud of the progress they've made. As I have mentioned before, dirt is one of the biggest concerns for us Westerners and this just doesn't seem to be an issue for the Chinese. They, themselves, are spick and span, well groomed and smartly dressed, but this does not translated to their homes, which are in need of a good clean and a coat of paint. But, I guess, the priority, in the past, was just to stay alive.
I feel obliged to impart the news to those of you disreputable enough to still be smoking, that cigarettes here cost 1p. each! Yes, that's 20p. per packet!! I don't know what the authorities are thinking of - they are positively encouraging the dreadful habit!!
Finally, I've been told that part of the reason for the abysmal treatment of animals by the Chinese is lack of refridgeration. Dead animals cannot be stored safely and fridges are almost unheard of - too expensive, I guess - so the only way to keep food fresh is to keep it alive. If an animal is looked upon purely as food, then its suffering will not be a concern. So, hopefully, once the use of fridges becomes more widespread, animals will start to be treated more humanely.
Finally, finally, a cockroach update. My campaigne to eradicate the wretches fell at the first hurdle. The scalding simply didn't work on any of the subsequent ones, so I had to resort to Plan B, which was to go to the local supermarket and buy a can of cockroach spray. It is absolutely lethal and I don't imagione that many of us would survive it - the cockroaches certainly don't!
Ok, that's it! Bye for now!