Thursday, July 13, 2006
Seven o'clock in Xiaoshan. Nobody is at home. Old women sit on park benches and street corners fanning themselves with rolled up newspapers. Nearby, men play cards on plastic tables. The roads are full of taxis and scooters. In the big park next to the school teenagers rollerskate and play badminton, flicking the shuttlecock back and forth across the concrete. Cycle rickshaw drivers haggle over fares and crowds gather two and three people deep to watch ballroom dancers circle round the pavement. TV noise blares out of ground floor bicycle garages. On the hill behind the bus station, the pavilions are illuminated one by one.