The Town And Its People

 

I have decided to dedicate this week to photos of the town of Wuhu and it’s people.
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This was the local grocery store. If we desired anything that our cook did not understand to get for us, we came here and hoped to find it. Mostly, we looked. We had cow’s or goat’s milk delivered to us regularly by special request for dry cereal we had brought in from the States. Another item that cook did not get that came special as arranged through the school, was bread. Bread was a commodity that required scarce commodities to make (yeast) so our hosts, in order to show they could care well for foreigners had made arrangements with a baker in town for bread. This was the way a great many things occurred. Arrangements and bribes.


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This is the town center, a lake with a bridge called ‘Over the Moon’ bridge. They hold a festival because there is a time of year when the Bridge is actually over the moon’s reflection in the water. It is also the local laundromat.

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Because the people in this city are so poor, they utilize everything they can to get the most out of it. In this photo, you will notice what appears to be charcoal laid out to warm in the sun. It is actually coal, created by taking the dust from the stoves it is burned in or the fireplaces, molded into lumps and set out in the sun to dry into hard coal lumps for use in warming the home that evening. They will do this much of the winter. Oh, and you know how we talk about El Nino or the Westerlies…this city, although on the same parallel geographically as Austin, TX and having Palm trees, undergoes bitterly cold winters resulting from Siberian cold fronts coming down and just hovering over the area before dissipating. I truly understand WHY people hated being sent to Siberia….

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This is the typical downtown street with storefronts. These are People’s Liberation Army Soldiers, who are out EVERYWHERE. This is their typical uniform and soldiers are always able to get the best seats, the best items, and get to the front of the line. People fear them, although many of them are just young kids putting in their time, and nothing like what it means to be a soldier here. In their country, it is a party plan to get ahead…as a party member and a soldier, you are more likely to get promoted and get better housing and assignments.

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Just behind the storefronts, the town looks more like this. This is typical housing and laundry is always hanging out. In the winter, you wear most all of your clothes because of the cold. What you don’t wear, you wash. The layered look is very in and the way you do it is to keep putting something different on top. In order to insure factory output levels, the electricity is usually shut off during most of the day at the last week of the month and towards quarter end, well, hardly on at all. That is why it becomes necessary to wear an entire wardrobe at one time. You will be pinched to see if you are wearing enough and offered more clothing if it is determined you are on the light side. Hot water for drinking and hot water bottles are quite a necessity.

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One thing I could never understand, was the need to hand the sausage next to the laundry. Every photo with laundry out will have sausages hanging in the wind as well. No matter whether at ground level or second story as in the photo here below.

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Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little trip through photoland to another time and another place. Until next week, Filly is riding off into the sunset…

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