On the Road…in China

A really, truly fascinating piece in the
Christian Science Monitor
.  Growing prosperity, easier access to credit, improved roads in China have all
dramatically increased the number of people ditching their bikes (the traditional mode of transport) and driving cars.
Indeed, owning a car is the “in” thing, a sign you made it. A status symbol. And while all the traffic and pollution
problems are horrendous in some places, it has also created new opportunities for people to take to the open road. It’s
not quite like driving into the gaping West of the US, a la Jack Kerouac, but it wouldn’t surprise me if someone like
that comes along, a young Chinese literary voice who celebrates the Chinese countryside, the thrill of four-wheeled
freedom. In a way, you could argue that China is kind of like the US circa the 1950s, a country awakening to its
identity, a country filled with a sense of opportunity and optimism for the future.