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China café

There's no stopping progress in China—dirt roads are replacing the lovely old mountain trails, and only I seem to care. Luckily, it's the time of year to get drunk

By Mark Kitto   December 2008

The path of progress

My latest hobby, mountain biking, is benefiting from a prominent sign of progress in these parts: brand new dirt roads.   Thanks to better equipment and engineering, the bright orange scars of the roads are spreading through the forests like a rusty spider’s web. Their purpose is to make it easier to harvest bamboo, the prime local commodity. Until now, tough hillmen would have to carry heavy bundles on their shoulders down steep slopes. These days a truck can drive into the middle of the forest and pick up its cargo. Men and women count up…

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