Monday, May 26, 2008

This is a part of China you don't hear much about, but it brings back memories.

At dawn the next day, we were awakened by the sounds of clanging pots. Outside the bus, hotel workers were cooking in a makeshift kitchen. The rice congee (basically a watery boiled rice) they prepared was the diet of Chinese babies and "very healthy," our stalwart tour guide, Frank Wang, assured us. It became our staple, sometimes supplemented with pickled vegetables and small pieces of pork salvaged from the hotel's refrigerators.

And this too.

Even when the food is bland (rice congee!) or too salty (pickled vegetables), there something about the Chinese ability to joke and share and be neighborly in conditions of extreme physical discomfort that is really touching. Not to mention the goofy games that build school spirit, like here.

On the other hand there's this bit of nasty amateur theodicy, or should I say Buddhodicy?