At the end of August I headed to Pingliang, Gansu for a short trip. It is a small town (by Chinese standards – population around 300,000) five hours east of Lanzhou by bus. I was going there to visit my other half-aunt and her family for the first time.
Last week I was with a group of friends in Lanzhou and we had a rambling, hours long discussion- one that eventually lands on the topic of Fu Er Dai (Second Generation Rich). China is notorious for its roster of badly behaved billionaire millennials that try to outdo one another with very public displays of wealth: stables of Maseratis, matching Shanghai and London duplexes, gold Apple watches for THEIR DOGS. Their parents were the first ones to get super-rich from the 1980s onwards after Deng Xiaoping’s reform policies took off.
I frontloaded the first week of August with a fairly straightforward plan: fly down to Chengdu, take a bus south to some obscure cities where a couple of my volunteer friends and students are based, and ultimately see the Shunan Bamboo Forest.
Shunan Bamboo Forest is where several scenes from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon were filmed- Zhang Ziyi and Chow Yun Fat fly through the bamboo stalks, dueling over the Green Destiny sword.
So, I hoped this trip would go smoothly but the first day was a total disaster. Continue reading →
Summer Project has come and gone! This is a two week event that every PCV must complete between the first and second year of service. This year, all volunteers from Gansu province were sent to small-town Lixian together, to teach primary, middle, and high school teachers Oral English.