Moganshan, east China.by Mark Kitto / May 24, 2012 / Leave a comment
Published in June 2012 issue of Prospect Magazine
They are widening the road to make it easier to turn up a junction right below our coffee shop, where there is a sharp hairpin. On busy holidays, intricate traffic jams turn to gridlock and I joke with customers that we should charge them for the show. From our perfect viewing platform it is fascinating to watch the cars and buses disentangle themselves. Now there will be no more jams. We’ll miss the entertainment.
There was almost no more coffee shop terrace too. The excavations into the hillside caused a large crack to appear. The foreman in charge of the works told me, “You could patch it up but it won’t last the year. You should get the local government [who commissioned him] to fix it.” After a heavy overnight downpour the crack became a crevasse. The foreman put barriers up and told us not to go near the edge. We got in touch with the government office. They said it was not their problem. We told them we were concerned some of our customers, predominantly foreign families with children, might be injured, or worse, if the terrace collapsed. Safety of foreign “guests” in China is usually paramount. The government overdoes the precautions. (They also love telling foreigners they can’t go somewhere, Tibet for instance, “for your own safety.”) This time it didn’t work.