Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Human Zambonis

There is seemingly no floor in China that goes more than a few minutes without being swept or mopped. (Except the one in our apartment, that is!)

Because of this, I was only marginally surprised when I came upon the scene depicted in the accompanying photographs. There we were, strolling through Yuanmingyuan, a place that defies the busy streets right outside of its gates, with all of its lakes and connecting waterways. One can easily imagine what it was like for the emperor...escaping from the Forbidden City, passing through the city wall (where the second ring road now whizzes by), riding up to the edge of the mountains, and cooling off at this lotus-filled getaway.

Except that, now, here we were in the dead of winter. The lakes were freezing over, and the lotus was stuck in an icy grip.

And then we saw them. All of those workers. Metal, rake-like devices in their hands. Scraping the ice. Clearing the frozen lakes of thousands of dead lotus stalks, one piece at a time, by hand.

Impossible is nothing...indeed...



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