These are some themes of China as far as I can see. In so many areas of life I have seen conformity and obedient following. There is little individual culture. You can see this dating back 2200 years with the building of the emperor Qing mausoleum and Terracotta battalions. Built by slaves over 36 years, and the row upon row of impassive warriors somehow echoes the September 3 parade. Visiting this attraction also has its codes and conventions. The Chinese like to go in groups, and follow tour leaders with little coloured flags. The engagement is through smart phone, rather than real time pondering and reflection, ie photographing themselves and each other in front of the excavations, the museum buildings, the trees in the park. I watched a little boy of about 8 in the museum of bronze relics, passing from one splendid vessel to the next snapping ill composed shots of each one. Obviously he had learnt by observing the adults do this, and like them will end up with hundreds of meaningless images cluttering up some device or other.
At the station this morning, in a stressful search for the bus to the Warriors museum I encountered more of this group mentality. Tomorrow is the start of university and the station square was rammed with gangs of newly arrived students pulling along their cases on wheels following leaders, again with little flags, to the bus that would take them to their school.
It’s quite tiring here. The scale of things is immense. It takes a long time to do anything,and due to this, heat, sore feet and reluctance to waste time trying to go places that are further than I thought, I’m scaling back my plans.