August 8th, 2009

I’m back in Yanqing for the first time since last winter. It’s good to finally get back out here. Our dog, Zaizai, isn’t here, but one of his puppies is, and two kittens, too. Apart from her fur, which she got from her mother, she looks exactly like Zaizai. But that is one crazy little puppy with a hell of a temper.

She was never allowed in the house, so she grew up half-wild. And she inherited her mother’s toughness, not like Zaizai who’d bark for a few seconds and then decide your his best friend. I haven’t seen any sign of her attempting to bite anybody yet, but she chases after everything that moves making a hell of a racket and she doesn’t give up in a hurry.

But she’s oddly timid, as well. Apparently Ma used to scare her a lot, and I guess that combined with her half-wild raising means she’s even slower to trust people than she is to stop barking. But there’s also that spark of curiosity in her that Zaizai had. You can see she’s trying to figure out who we are and she wants to get up for a closer look, but…. She won’t let me get close, and at best, if I sit perfectly still, she’ll sneak up to within about a metre, sniffing, watching, then run away as fast as she can.

The latest incarnation of the new socialist countryside is a building that’s going up just a few metres down from our front gate. It’s a tall building, but seems quite narrow and almost square, grey concrete walls and a roof made out of those steel/polystyrene/steel slabs they use for temporary accomodation like construction workers’ shacks. It’s nearing completion, and when it’s done, it’ll replace the old rubbish heap on it’s southern side. I’m not sure what to call this building: A rubbish collection station? Whatever, it should help improve hygiene out here.

The sky is grey and it’s humid, but I’m told it didn’t rain yesterday (we arrived late in the afternoon), and it’s noticeably cooler than Beijing. I was told, however, that a few days ago there was a hailstorm which did a lot of damage up in Ba’s orchard. Somebody from the insurance company came to have a look, but there’s no word yet on how much money they’ll get (if anything).

Yesterday was 立秋, the start of autumn by the old calendar. Corn is standing tall in the fields. According to the driver who brought us out to the village from Nancaiyuan, it’s ready to eat. There are plastic bottles full of beans along the window sills. My parents in law are busy out in the fields.

I guess I should be busy translating things- they are due on Monday, after all.

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