BPL-004, Arrival in Xinzheng



It takes about 13 hours to get to Beijing from New York.  Once in China, we transferred to a 1.25 hour flight to Zhengzhou.  Luckily they only lost one bag.  Unluckily it was the one that contained all my painting stuff.  Luckily they brought it to me the next day.

All of China is one time zone, for the sake of Centrality.  The time difference is 12 hours, so one has to invert one's schedule.  Someone said it takes a day for every hour of time zone change to get over jet lag.  That calculation is obviously too simple to be right, but it took us longer than our last trip to China to get up to speed.  After 5 days I was getting up at 5 am, which is good enough.  By 10 p.m. we are catatonic.

China has a smell.  China smells like coal, and burnt sugar, with a hint of sewage.  This isn't altogether disagreeable, but it is unsettling.  It smells neither man made, nor natural.  The odor suggests aging- it smells like inevitability.

Our last visit to China doesn't differ from this one as far as the clarity of the air is concerned.  When we arrived in Beijing in 2008 I was amazed by the miasma.  Convinced it was pollution, I became perplexed when we went to the countryside and the haze was equally dense.  The photo above for instance was taken at around 10 a.m.  Eventually we figured out that the sky is seen through a semi-permanent blanket of fine dust blown eastward from the Gobi desert.  The air is very dry as a consequence and all light diffused.  It's as if there was another environment suspended over the rice paddies and fields- a kind of ghost desert.  One's head floats in this sterile, desiccated environment, while one's feet negotiate a dense agricultural compound of cultivated land and human byproducts.  I was surprised that no one ever commented about the haze, but I have come to find that people here don't editorialize much about self evident, or irreversible conditions.  Obviously I'm not used to that!

About this Memo

This corporate memo issued on: April 27, 2010.

Previously issued memo BPL-004, Experimental Outsourcing Mission To China.

Subequently issued memo BPL-004, Cultural Exchange 1.

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