Let’s be honest, Huizho, China is… not a beautiful city. It has beautiful parts, much like an extremely ugly guy most likely has OK ears. This is an economically depressed area (at least based on sight) that is mostly industrial based. There are definite signs that it is trying to cater to Western money (or any money, most likely), based on the 2-months old 5-star hotel my hosts have put me up in. It is a city trying to be better than it is, and I admire that.

Having said that, if I can offer a description of what I see around me as I drive down the streets: building upon building that looks as if they are completely deserted, yet clearly have occupants. I am fairly certain, and would not be surprised, if I was able to buy a whole building here with what I have in my pocket… which, let me tall you, ain’t much. I would live there briefly, until I got fed-up with the lack of reliable power and city pollution wafting in through the cracks around the windows. I would figure out quickly that if I didn’t start selling bananas, or my body, I wouldn’t be able to survive here long. I would sell my building for the same $50US I bought it for and roll it over into 3 months at the 5-star hotel.

But I was saying… None of the stores seem to have doors, and all of the shop owners work primarily while squatting on the ground.

There are goats.
There are not as many bikes as you probably think.
There is dirt…everywhere. Piles of bricks. Bamboo scaffolding that I know is lighter, stronger, and more convenient than the metal we use.
There are no Westerners.
There is rampant and unabated smoking.

There are signs everywhere of people trying to achieve, to break out of the economic slump hey were born into. Travelling down a dirty, destroyed road, lines of shops selling really nothing go on forever. Every now and again, the rows of stores are broken up by what looks like a tiny machine shop, with one sad manual milling machine, the owner obviously trying to achieve success where the real money is: manufacturing. I don’t know it, but I feel that he is very skilled, with big dreams, and yet no idea of the scale of the challenge he has in front of him. I wish him luck.

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