updated 1 February 2000

Where was b? 1999

Where's b?


- The Middle Kingdom
China's Flag

-----------Under Construction! -----------

1-6 May -- Shanghai, China
-Anyone can plot a revolution. But how many get away with one?

7-9 May -- Suzhou, China
"In heaven there is paradise. On Earth there is Suzhou and Guangzhou." So runs the Chinese proverb. Well, I think Suzhou must have seen better days. On the contrary, I couldn't help thinking I had descended into a circle of hell forgotten by Dante. The town was destroyed. Not by war. -- Well, what is war anyway? China will make one wonder such things. Is revolution war? Was the cultural revolution a war? Is America's war on drugs, a war? War is one of my favorite bands of all time! --
So China is in the midst of a building/ rebuilding frenzy. Suzhou is evidently one of the sites targeted for consturction/ reconstruction. It was hell when I was there, but I'm sure if you wait a couple of years it will be a quaint, beautiful, traditional Chinese town, brimming with culture.

10-12 May -- Nanjing, China

13-14 May-- Suzhou, China

Nanjing to Seoul

b. leaves China in wake of anti-American tension

I intended to be in China for a couple of months before going to Japan and teaching English. Well, China turned rather hostile following thebombing of their embassy in Belgrade. The government used it's propaganda machine to encourage animosity towards the US, it's old ideologicalenemy.

A Chinese student tried to break into some of the rooms of foreign students in a hotel where I was staying. He cut his hand and left puddles ofblood in the hallway. One of those whom he was terrorizing cried "Why me, I'm not an American." He was from Bahrain. Perhaps he would havedirected his assailant to my door had he known I was American, but Wo shu ChingChin Lan (I am New Zealand). No one came to anybody'sassistance and no one called the hotel security or police whom they evidently don't trust. Everyone seemed to be on their own.

The day before this situation exploded, a very kind Chinese couple from Beijing had taken me around the city of Nanjing. I had spent two dayswith them and had dinner with their aunt and uncle. The night of our dinner together, the bombing occurred. They met me in the morning anddecided it was best to cut off contact with me since their uncle was in the military and I was now a sort of enemy. The same uncle had toastedhis nephew and me as "old friends" at dinner the night before. We had made plans to dine together again this time drinking traditional Chineserice wine instead of Budweiser. After dinner we would engage in the ever popular pastime of karaoke. Up in smoke went those plans. I was leftinstead, with the sincere advice of my hospitable friend, "Don't say where you from. Maybe danger."

The police couldn't gaurantee any foreigner's safety. Meanwhile the state controlled press fanned the flames of anti-U.S./anti-NATO animosity.They immediately insinuated that the bombing was not an accident. McDonald stores and Kentucky Fried Chicken stores were forced to closetheir doors. Large groups of angry demonstrators seemed to have invaded Nanjing. China wasn't an easy place to travel in to begin with, with theadded belligerance I decided to move on to South Korea. I was not happy to leave; I had just begun like the chaotic place.

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