stones to pebbles

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Today might have been even hotter than the day before; I’m not wearing my long johns and my sweater anyways, and I’m definitely not cold.

Anyways, warm or not, it seemed like it was going to be another boring day on the road at first:

train

Somewhere after the railway tracks I came across a couple of green dudes standing around on the street, apparently doing something out there:

soldiers

Now here’s the thing: there’s some army barracks in that area, and the two guys are there to supervise their fellow comrades getting on and off public transportation properly:

soldier and bus

I had lunch in a little restaurant that seemed to be only frequented by military.

…and there was the chubby little son of the restaurant owner:

little dude

Eight years old, so shy he forgot his own age at first, but then he told me he had made some awesome fireworks a couple of weeks ago.

What a cute kid.

Then the stone pits started to appear:

exclamation mark

Lots and lots of gravel – this area seems to thrive on gravel like the province of Shanxi thrives on coal:

gravel pit

Ok, this is going to be like some boring educational article: “How do you make pebbles?”

But anyways, here we go – first, they break big chunks of rock out of the mountain side:

workers

This gentleman then makes sure a mighty stone-busting machine chops up all the rocks into little pieces:

old worker

Then the gravel gets separated from whatever else went through the machine, and they haul it to the gravel pit:

method of work

A ton of gravel sells for about 30 to 50rmb.

Okay, this is not gravel, it’s corn:

bag of corn

Someone dropped a couple of these on the highway, and the poor dudes were desperately trying to get them back.

I didn’t help, I had my own stuff to carry.

It’s funny at this point I really don’t know how to make a connection from the military guys over the gravel and the corn to this:

development

Development 发展 – a magical word in modern Chinese society, almost like a talisman; societies can develop, people can develop, everyone can develop – but for some, the way to attain development is as long as the distance between the two characters on that wall.

Sometimes development means that a society doesn’t want its trees to be eaten by bugs, so some people have to go and apply a protective coating on the trees:

white stuff for trees

Somebody else will then draw a red ring around the tree, and I forgot to ask why they would do that:

red stuff for trees

Anyways, after all this excitement, I finally got to Huaxian, a place that looked like socialist city-planning gone wild:

small town in Shaanxi

Just huge empty spaces:

empty streets in Huaxian

I got a room in a tiny hotel in the old north part of town, mainly because it seemed a bit more lively up there:

cars in Huaxian

And since it had been so warm for the last two days, there wasn’t going to be any heating that night.

Okay, thought I, that makes sense.

Little did I know.



  • Fiona

    Cool, Chris. I just saw ur dairy on City Weekend. Beijing is getting colder again ://
    Well, have a nice trip…

    See u soon, peace..

    Fiona.

    Reply

  • Raddish

    I noticed something similar with the painting of Rocks and Trees whilst I was travelling through India last year.

    Upon further investigation I discovered that they are used to mark the edges of the road for the benefit of the drivers. When headlights shine on them at night time, they glow bright and keep you safe (well, as safe as hurtling down mountains roads at high speed can be!)

    Keep up the adventuring, I respect and laud you for what you are doing – you have inspired me to do the same.

    Keep your well travelled eyes open for more news on the TravelRaddish

    PR

    Reply

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