Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Yushui : rain water and economy

Summer downpour, Beijing August 1998 ©Ingrid Booz Morejohn

According to the Chinese agricultural calendar (the nongli 农历) today is yushui 雨水, (literally “rain water”) and tradition says that if it doesn't rain today there won't be any rain for 100 days to come. Low and behold, this evening it rained a few drops! Not enough to please a desperate farmer (and northern China is still in the grips of a horrible drought) but enough to confirm that in our part of the world the calendar is still working. 

The image above is from a summer deluge in Beijing many years ago. It was wonderful to witness from under the protection of an overhanging roof (and it also proves my point that you've got to have your camera with you at all times and ready to shoot). It got me thinking about transportation: after Spring festival ended last week here in Chengdu the number of pedicabs (both motorized and traditional like the one above) has increased noticeably - seemingly an effect of the global economic situation where people are trying to find any way to earn extra money. At the beginning of 2008 the number of electric pedicabs and bicycle rickshaws had decreased drastically. We witnessed several confiscations by the local police, loading rickshaws onto trucks, the vehicle owners not having proper licenses or driving in areas they weren't allowed in. A year later I don't know if the rules have changed in light of the current situation. Maybe the authorities are just showing a little humanity and looking through their fingers in order to lighten the burden of those who live so perilously at the bottom end of the economy.

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