Interestingly, my grandfather grew up in a really rural area of China. You know those movies where the country boy/girl goes to the big city, makes it big, and attempts to hide their country roots? That’s pretty much my grandfather. It’s only in his later years that he really acknowledged where he’s from.
Let’s get a comparison:
From what I saw there, it’s completely true that the poor people are all in the rural areas. Not that there aren’t poor people in the urban area (there’s a lot of beggers in the city too), but that idea that rural areas are dirty and old is very true. I mean, look at those pictures!
The most interesting thing about the rural/urban space in China is that they do have something in common! They’re both super crowded, in terms of buildings. All the houses and buildings are really condensed.
So, in case you’re wondering, why did I even visit the rural area since my grandparents live in the city, it’s because even though nobody we know lives in their hometown anymore, they kept their house. For some reason, the Chinese believe that by keeping their “root house” they will have a lot of good fortune. Something like, it’ll keep them grounded. They fix up the house so that it looks really beautiful, even though nobody lives their anymore, and it completely doesn’t bend in with the old, rustic surroundings. Basically, my grandfather’s “root house” is really pretty… and empty. It’s strange to keep something around that isn’t used, especially something like a house. It’s an empty house that sits there!
It’s only recently that my grandfather and his siblings fixed up the house. (Again, they didn’t like to acknowledge where they came from until recently.) They all put in some money and made the house look pretty modern. I did learn a lot of family history about my great-grandparents and my great-great grandparents. It’s always nice to know where our roots are, I suppose.
Part 5/11 of China Adventures 2010