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You are reading about: Longzhou County

The first year of blogging has resulted in well over 300 posts, so in celebration of surviving the writing process that has yielded over 150,000 words, I thought we should revisit a few of the best posts. My personal favorites – and the story behind them There must be something in the air – I don’t think anyone but my wife, and a few close friends know that I had a very short lived blog prior to this one. It was charitably described as “dry” and “overly detailed” (it was deleted shortly after starting this one). That failure helped me realize that I should be writing a blog that was more accessible to those without any first hand knowledge of the country. This post launched […]


Continuing to look at some of my favorite parts of living in China, is the fact that there is history everywhere. Thanks to the Cultural Revolution, civil-wars, and thousands of years of tearing down the old to make room for the new, it is fairly safe to say that China has lost more history than the US has. We weren’t even a country until half way through China’s final dynasty (the Qing). So living in a place where I pass a 600-year-old buildings on a daily basis is great. The tiny town of Longzhou where I first lived was an excellent example of how even present day backwaters can have an interesting history (Here it is on Google Maps). There was a kind of joke […]


I enjoy having the opportunity to host foreign investors when they visit China for the first time. They see the country the way I used to see it, and I wish sometimes that I could get back to that feeling. For people stepping off the plane in Shanghai, China seems like a country that is capable of accomplishing anything, and a place where the market is ready for just about any new product. So for the next few days we will be looking at the things China does well. I remember when I lived in Longzhou I was struck by the quality of life enjoyed by China’s elderly population. It is common to see in most Chinese cities, parks full of elderly people enjoying chess, […]


Over the past three days the posts I’ve been writing have emphasized the fact that many of the bad things we hear about government interference in religion in China are overstated. That does not mean though that life for Chinese Christians is completely free of gov’t interference. When I first arrived in Longzhou the local church had been shut down for 3 months. The reason for this was that the pastor had left for training in Nanning, and the lack of a leader had led to some small problems in the already small congregation. The local department of religious affairs stepped in and closed the doors. To me it seemed like something that could have been solved in a few days of negotiations, as the church […]


Earlier this week we looked a little bit at food safety in China. Today we are going to look at a Chinese market (nothing comes in packages), these are where most rural Chinese prefer to do their shopping. Whenever I have visitors from the States, I enjoy taking them to the market because it makes such a visceral impact on them and leaves them with the inescapable feeling that they have caught a glimpse of the real China. I still clearly remember my first trip to the market in Longzhou. It was late August so the air was heavy with humidity and the heat seemed to amplify the fragrance of the fresh fruit along with the pungent smell of meat that had been sitting out […]


2011 has already set record highs for food prices, and that means another step backward for development. Now add to that news that China’s wheat-producing region (one of the largest in the world) is bracing for the worst drought in a century, and you have the makings for a disaster. In 2008 the world saw record high food prices. They led to riots in some countries, and crime waves in others. My brother was in the Dominican Republic at the time, and faced a number of threats on his life, as desperate people looked for ways of providing for their families. At that time I was in Longzhou and there were daily questions from the restaurant owners about the cost of goods in America. In […]


It’s Friday, let’s reminisce a bit about my time in Longzhou. Kyle and I enjoyed taking long bus rides whenever we had a few hours of sunlight to enjoy after the noon heat let up. One of the most interesting places to visit, and my mother hated when I did, was the hydro-electric dam that was being built a few miles upstream. It was about a 30-45 minute bike ride that passed some wonderful little sights. We would ride out the back gate of the school, and up the steep hill to the bridge that crossed the river. From there the road would slope gently downhill and we would build up speed as we passed the small tractors with their exposed motors spinning out black […]


When people ask me what the best place in China is, I usually say the terracotta soldiers, or the whole city of Xi’an, but that’s a lie. I tell them this because most of the time they are looking for a place they can actually visit in their few weeks in China. Really my favorite place in the whole of China is in Longzhou on a noisy little corner at the end of Barbecue Street. The tea shop had big glass windows on both of its walls that faced the street, and a sliding door that seemed to always be open. In the windows were carefully cut shelves with neatly arranged tea wares of every kind. Full tea services with deep blue, hand painted dragons […]


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