Monday, September 14, 2009

The Great Vineyard Divide

While I was photographing the Changyu Disneyland castle from the vineyard as the sun set, one of the workers became very concerned that I was cold. (True to form for a macho Oregon guy, I was wearing shorts and a short sleeved shirt. It wasn't that cold.) The lady started to take off her coat to give me.

I could only say thank you (in Chinese) about three dozen times.

A few minutes later, one of my tripod legs slipped into a small hole. Immediately, the lady vineyard worker ran over with a flat stone to put under the wondering tripod leg.

Again, all I could say was thank you a dozen times.

After a few clicks of the shutter, I tried to ask if one of the buried pipes at the edge of the vineyard carried water. Since I only knew the Chinese word for water, complete communication was on the shy side. She, thinking that I wanted a drink of water, ran over to get her water bottle to give me.

Thank you. Thank you.

She did all of these kind acts with a huge smile. I was humbled in front of a truly kind human being.

As a vineyard worker, this generous woman earns 1200 Chinese RMB per month.
Houghton–my Hong Kong travel arranger and translator–and I spent 1900 RMB for just one night's lodging. We spend a third more for one night than the vineyard woman earns in a month.
(For those of you wondering, the current exchange rate is about US$1 = 6.8 Chinese RMB.)

Is it easier to see the great divide in a foreign country?

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