Bo Attley, Rizhao, China 4/10/08
I woke up this morning to the sound of my watch at 7:30. I arose and stared out the window for about 5 minutes then I got dressed and took the long walk to breakfast (about 3 minutes). When I arrived at breakfast everyone was already there. Normally it’s about 3 or 4 people all at one table and 2 tables full of food completely empty. After the delicious breakfast I went to the pastry store to bid my last goodbyes to the 13 cent angel food cake. I then ran back to the hotel, finished packing and rushed out the door to the dreaded bus.
We left the hotel at about 9:00 and during this 3 hour bus ride we saw a lot. On the sides of the roads you could see hills being terraced by many farmers. 20-30 people without machines hoeing fields and digging holes for crops. I thought all this was pretty amazing and with my work ethic I don’t think I’d make it as a farmer. As I finished my last bite of cake, I stared at the fake Rolex watch I had purchased the other day. It has fake diamonds for numbers and it’s very hard to tell the time but I rationed it out to be about 10:30. We stopped for a WC break and I took a look around at the landscape. It was very rocky and I’m surprised most of it is farmland. We got back on the bus and started back onto the brand new highway.
The roads are surprisingly bumpy and it’s very hard to read with the constant shaking. I lay down on my backpack and tried to catch some sleep. The last sight I saw was a single farmer sitting in a huge field maybe an acre long with a single hoe. After several minutes of hearing the seat next to me squeak constantly I decided that it was impossible to sleep in these conditions so I decided I’d try to read my book despite the constant bumps, “Sigh, my life is soooo hard.” when we arrived at our 4 star hotel I was excited to go upstairs to have a hot shower and take a nap but we had to go back downstairs for lunch in 10 minutes so I just lounged around and moaned about the bus ride.
After lunch at the hotel I put on 4 million gallons of sunscreen and we departed for the beach. The beach was amazing. The temperature outside wasn’t hot but it wasn’t cold. The beach was sandy and the sun was shining, a pleasant breeze blew in from the west and half the group was paying 20 Yuan to ride a horse. I walked around for a bit but then realized that I am way too lazy to walk around for 2 hours so I went and sat at the base of what looked to be an old circus attraction. I just took in the sights around me; the beautiful sound of the waves crashing and the radiant heat from the sun, and then I looked around at all the trash on this beach. There is trash everywhere from shore to shore. I stare at all the trash and then I turned around to see a single man in a jumpsuit that resembles a traffic cone behind me with a poker type deal picking up the trash. He walked around in front of me and then promptly fell asleep. I laughed but cried at the same time. Just joking, but it did make me think. I thought about this beautiful beach and how in 10 years this beach probably won’t be here. To my right is the city and I can see the high-rises being built now. In 5 years this place won’t be this beautiful and I may be experiencing the best this beach will ever be seen as or, this beach could have been way more infested with trash and is actually being cleaned up. It’s very hard to determine the future with such little knowledge of the past.
After this enlightening experience we left to go to the harbor. The harbor was very cool. It was filled with these old school boats, the likes of which did not appear to be seaworthy but, nonetheless, these men went out into the treacherous water and came back with these nets filled with god knows what. It appeared mostly to be shrimp and as we walked down the pier they were selling the daily catches. I saw a man in a suit buying a whole lot of fish. Judging by his appearance I would guess that he is a restaurant owner and he was buying for a while. The food here is so fresh it’s amazing. Some of the crabs and fish were still wriggling around and I wonder if it’s due to the lack of refrigeration or just the way that they like to eat their food. Either way I really enjoyed being at the market despite the smell.
We then went to the performance hall were we shall perform tomorrow after the last crowd, though nothing can possibly top that. The hall was fairly small but we’ll make do. We went back to the bus where we waited for Tom and Mike and Meg for about 10 minutes and finally departed for the hotel where we ate a delicious dinner and we all adjourned to our rooms for some much needed rest.