July 9, 1997:
It is 6:20 AM. We are moving quietly about the hotel room while Kristina sleeps. She's up and we are off to have our day. Breakfast first, then we will visit a village just outside Nanning.
Later: The scenery on the way to the village was incredible. Lots of rice paddies and men and women using water buffalo as the beast of burden. Many sharp, small mountain-ettes dotted the landscape almost as if it weren't just a foreign land but a foreign world. Once our bus entered the village and parked, it was like entering into the fifties in America. This appeared to be at a time in America when family values were more than a catch phrase, but a real, tangible force here. The helpfulness and caring attitude of the Chinese people reminded me of the time when I was a youngster and it was safe to walk the streets at night in America. It reminded me of the time when there were real neighborhoods and real neighbors and everyone took care of everyone else. In the village, the children came up to me as I shot video and some felt bold enough to leap up and put their hands in front of the camcorder in fun.
We noticed a television antenna and wondered if these townspeople had TV. Though primarily an agricultural based society, Matthew informed us that they have cable.
"Cable!?" I questioned. Matthew explained that cable companies will string cable all the way out to these rural villages. Televisions are very inexpensive to buy and most families have one.
Women washed clothes in a small, man-made lake. Occasionally water buffalo pulled a cart down a dusty path beside the lake. As if the town were being invaded by another time, just as occasionally an old automobile or truck would roar by. The children gathered for pictures and showed us their toys. Some of our group handed out candies and gum to the locals. Soon it was time to get back on the bus and make our way back to the big city of Nanning.
This evening, Matthew took us all to a food mall where incredible varieties of foods could be sampled. Some of the more exotic delicacies were duck tongue, fried eel, snails, whole quail (including the head), chicken feet, and more. For us westerners, they also had pizza, french fries, and hamburgers. Some of the children had too much of a good day and were so keyed up, they couldn't go to sleep. As I write this, Kristina has fallen into that category. Linda and I have been singing to her and rocking her and walking with her to try to calm her down but she is so tired, she cannot sleep. With that feeling, she is wailing. The good side is she is getting more and more affectionate with us. Enjoys receiving kisses on her cheek and returning them to us as well.
Hopefully we won't have as heavy a schedule tomorrow and, hopefully, we all get enough sleep tonight.