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Guangxi, China

Ive just bought my bike in Kunming so hopefully I will survive the trip to email once more. Brakes decidedly dodgy, a cheap MTB (Y250 or $50). Anyway tomorrow will sort things out, the first ride….

After celebrating my last day in Guangdong with a dog banquet, I bussed to Yangsuo backpacker haven. Lots of cycling and mountainclimbing towering limestone pillars as rice harvest proceeds. The river is low so tourist cruiseboats queue to look at the view on the Chinese Y20 note.

Then to Liuzhou to visit ex-Golden Bay man, Shaun Lovelock. He showed me the city where he runs an English teaching centre, and passed on some amazing stories of his 8 years in China. Lovely guy and most generous, I stayed in his apartment and left some gear that I cant take on the bike. Lots of Chinese beer (40 cents per 750ml) and another dog banquet. I also helped a Chinese student check out universities in Oz/NZ- they all go through agents costing US$2000, while the internet allows self help!

Yet this kind of initiative and creativity is drilled out of the students at school. The kids become
exam-sitting robots to get the best grades so the school can sell itself as “Number 1..2” etc.

All part of an economy run on corruption, or Guangshi. Everything is who you know- join the Communist Party, its a Party! (ie drinking and banquets). No organisation outside this is allowed, which is why the government is so scared of F_____ G___ and the internet.

Communism began as a movement from the people soanything that unites people, from a parent/teacher organisation to chat rooms is banned. Im not going to write the words F—– G— because the internet police scan all traffic to and from foreign websites as it passes through the Great FireWall of China. I find that hard to believe but I dont want to test it out!

Shaun has seen a lot of growth in Liuzhou. So much money is wasted- walking over a big bridge he tells me the pavement here collapsed, killing people because some official stole the reinforcing and sold it. A small park costs a million yuan, the tallest building is taller than the government building so must be lowered, the corrupt mayor shifted sideways to another cty, police use “law” to make money….on a scale so massive that I dont think change will come for a long time. The rich get richer…cultivate your contacts.

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