Zoomed map of Handan, Changzhi, Licheng and Dongyangguan, overlayed with a topographical map. From Google Maps and topographic-map
Air pollution in China is at an all time high. Specific to China’s terrible air in general is Xingtai 邢台, a prefecture-level city of Hebei 河北, the most polluted province in China. The article calls out the county-level city of Shahe 沙河, on the southern outskirts of Xingtai. In looking at pollution in the area, I wondered how this would affect the people in the general vicinity, specifically in the nearby Taihang Mountain 太行山 range in Shanxi Province, such as Changzhi 长治, Licheng 黎城 and Dongyangguan 东阳关. Here are some Google maps of the area, overlayed with topographical maps to show how air pollution might affect the area. Here are the current Air Quality ratings for Changzhi
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Air Pollution in Xingtai, Hebei, China and the Taihang Mountains
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Spare time, I had, and wanted to see where someone was physically located in China. The place is a small town on the border of Shanxi and Inner Mongolia, on the Yellow River. What were the odds that I could find her exact location and get a satellite photo of her building?
I started using Google Maps, which was pretty helpful. Considering that Google is not allowed in China, they still had maps of the small city and specifically the 1km section of road that interested me. The sat photo showed great detail, as you can see, but the roads from the diagram did not coordinate very well with the sat map. In fact they were really so far off that some roads went underwater, like tunnels.
Shandang Ass Bacon, from Changzhi, Shanxi Province, China. It is preserved donkey meat. 山西世龙食品有限公司 Scan by Don Tai
Returned, she did, and with it some gifts. Bought in Changzhi, Shanxi Province, China, we received 3 packages of Shangdang ass bacon. And no, I am not being crude, as it clearly states, in English, on the package. I believe there is something lost in translation. Ass bacon is the Chinese to English translation, obviously made by a Chinese person in need of further translation experience, of donkey corned meat. Salty, but otherwise tasty.
It is not as hard as it was before, a decade ago. I recall the road being in terrible condition because it was a main route to Zhengzhou, so the road was pulverized daily by coal trucks. Now they have expanded to have not one but two highways (gaosulu). Here are the hops: Changzhi’s Dongguan bus station, Licheng, Changning, Longwangmiao, to Quixuiyuan. Two buses. The bus from Changzhi to Licheng is hourly and travels about 48kms and costs 20 RMB. The bus from LiCheng to Changning is hourly on the 15 and costs 5 RMB. The bus from Changning is only twice a day for the last 8 kms.
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Travel from Changzhi to Qiuxiuyuan in Shanxi Province, China
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I have always wanted to tell people about the benefits of a type of ecologically friendly living accomodation: the cave. China has lots of them in the Shanxi and Shaanxi area. It seems like Missouri does as well.
Chinese cave from Shaanxi Province, Tim Johnson/MCT
___Chinese caves, called yaodong, are ancient but became quite famous during the Long March, when Mao hid in them to escape bombing raids from American planes. After spending a significant amount of time living in a Chinese cave I would like to tell you that they are a totally awesome accommodation, but alas that would be a baldfaced lie. You may judge for yourself.