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After the flags were taken down

I just returned from two nights in Suzhou where our friend works for a university. Suzhou is known as the Garden City and it has entertainment complexes and restaurant-malls that are much fancier than what I have seen in Shanghai — and they remind me a little bit of Palo Alto, California.  Perhaps it’s the newness of the construction, perhaps it’s the coloured lights at night. Nice dining — we got our first Indian food meal since being here, at Ganesh. We could see a sparkly ferris wheel further along the lake.

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The future: pretty and it never ends.

Suzhou is also a community that has been transformed in a short time. When our friend moved here the high-rises were being built, and she remembers seeing holdout houses festooned with Chinese flags as a symbol of their desire to avoid demolition.  That was two years ago. Now there are 7- or 8-highrise apartment complexes everywhere. It makes me wonder what the treed land between Ottawa and Toronto would look like someday, paved by highrises.  “Scenic view of Lake Ontario” is what the brochure might read.

China has nearly two billion people, and its needs are huge.  What are they doing for arable land now that Suzhou has been paved over? Getting it from Africa.

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