Sunday, March 22, 2009
The ancient city of Xian
This morning we flew to Xian (last flight before we arrive at Philip Hayden) and went to the old city wall. We rode on rickshaws on the wall which was really fun for the kids. I think we were the loudest ride they had ever had as the kids kept cheering on the gentlemen peddling us as they thought it was a race between the two teams. Then tonight we went to a show on the water...the largest water show in the world. It was really amazing. The water shoots up from fountains and then a movie is projected off of the water. The effects were outstanding! The boys are very excited about seeing the Terra-Cotta warriors tomorrow. Had an interesting chat with our guide today. Scott asked him what his parents do for a living and he kind of hesitated and then told us that his dad worked for the government but when he was born (he was a 3rd child) he was let go as a punishment because he was not allowed to have more children. The 2nd child in the family was born when the rules were not so strict. So his dad has now retired but not really because he has no pension (due to the job he ended up having after he was fired). Our guide's sister has 2 children (a boy and then a girl) and was fined BIG TIME for her second child. She ended up getting 'hukou' for her second child which is the paper you need to register a child (without that they would not be able to go to school or do much really). She had to pay a hefty amount (under the table) to get that. Our guide's brother also has a child who is 4 years old, however his parents live in Guangzhou (which is a long plane ride away from their son) as he is cared for by the grandparents. So the grandparents are bringing the boy up for another couple of years as the parents work in a factory and have only vocational training so their lives are hard. They see their son very seldom but this is the only way they can make things work as they don't have money to pay someone to look after him where they work and live and they cannot find work any closer. So interesting to really get into the lives of people in China. Very difficult circumstances that many people live with.