Wednesday, August 18, 2010
the seasons change
Apparently August 15th is St Mary’s day (?) after which the season begins its winddown to autumn – and, in the mountains, the change is palpable. The air had a new edge a couple of days ago; the clouds over the mountains which had been absent for a couple of weeks slowly returned yesterday. Good weather for the lads on the roof; but this morning I felt vaguely cold as I woke up at 06.00.
Some horrifying scenes and stats from pollution-infested Beijing to which I almost committed myself earlier in the year for a long sojourn. I have never felt so alienated in a place as I was in Beijing – soulless buildings, luxurious hotels and crushed like a sardine in the metro. Cultural adjustment is not a problem for me – evidence the 7 years in various countries of central Asia which I found fascinating
But I knew that the scale of the city would be difficult to adjust to - particularly after the months I had spent in rural bliss. A lot of ex-pats were enjoying their lives there – but it is essentially for young people. We older people like our creature comforts! But my visit has at least aroused my interest in the fate and role of this country - and books such as Daniel Bell's China's New Confucianiasm vie for my attention me on the shelves.
I’m going through Perry Anderson’s The New Old World – which contains some stunning analyses of France, Germany, Italy and Turkey and good overviews of the European Union literature