In which Lisa is overwhelmed and annotates photos
Greetings again from Guizhou! It's been about a year and half since I was last here, and now I’m sitting in my paternal grandma’s house drinking milk tea and listening to my aunties talking and playing mahjong.
Until March this year, my 79 year old grandmother lived in the countryside on the farm, which I wrote about on my last visit. After her mother, my great grandmother, passed away (at 98 years old!), my grandmother moved from the countryside to the city of Xingyi, where I am now. She now lives in an apartment by herself, and my auntie and uncle live in the neighbouring block.
I’m visiting her during the Chinese National Day holidays where there is a seven day public holiday to celebrate the forming of the People’s Republic – 65 years ago yesterday, Mao declared to the masses in Tiananmen Square in Beijing that the Communists had won.
Beijing feels very, very far away. Although I’ve now spent more than three months in China this time, coming to Xingyi makes me feel very overwhelmed. After every outing, I fall into a deep sleep trying to process all the sights I’ve seen. Everything is unfamiliar and everything feels so far removed from my “normal” paradigm.
• Everyone is short, and I’m considered tall (I’m 164cm or 5’4)
• I am 29 this year, and everyone my age is married with children
• No one wears seat belts, even when driving and the warning alarm beeps incessantly, and young children aged three sit in the front seat
• People die all the time and it’s just “normal” conversation to discuss the latest deranged killer with a knife slashing people, or four teenagers dying from a motorcycle crash down the road
• Life and death and the cycle are in constant view – children and old people everywhere and chickens getting their throats slit and the hind legs of pigs on full display
• Every few metres there are Orwellian surveillance cameras
• I have not seen one non-Chinese looking person here (ie no laowai)
• China’s economic development means even here in this “small” town, BMW’s drive alongside a poor old person with no teeth selling green vegetables from a basket
OK. I will narrate some photos now. As you will see, Guizhou is province with incredible landscapes.