Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sleeping on the Kang

Last weekend, I took my first real foray into the countryside of Northeast China. It was beautiful. It was the tail end of fall foliage, which is magnificent, though not like my beloved New England.

The corn had been harvested and the rice had been woven into piles.

Rice in the foreground, corn in the middle, and the rolling hills tinged with orange in the background.

A crib for corn.
There was a wide assortment of things drying, as well. The part of Liaoning Province that I went to is famous for its ginseng. There are also mushrooms and peppers pictured here.


The farmers were fattening pigs and geese for the winter. There were chickens and sheep in the streets.


Ubiquitous in Northern China's countryside (and nearly half of China's 1.4 billion live in the countryside) is a heated bed that has existed since the Neolithic Period. On the other side of the wall from this stove which Olive is stoking is the kang. It stayed warm all night long. Here she is burning the slash from a cornfield. When winter comes they will burn wood. I slept with Olive's father in one room and she and her aunt slept in another room on another kang.

I went to visit the 87 year-old grandfather of my friend. I brought him a box of cigarettes...which my friend told him was my attempt to kill him. His daughter lives with him and fixed a beautiful feast.

A random house in the village with its clothesline. I could not resist.


  1. Alex, Thanks millions for your blog. I do so enjoy your reports and photos.
    I love the clothes line!

  2. congrats for the new face of your blog:)I like your is to sleep on a heated bed? being China, I immagine it's a very hard bed too lol

  3. Very hard. There is no mattress, but for this soft Westerner there were a couple quilts to lie on. It was comfortable, though not as nice as the heated floor in Korea that I experienced en route here in February last.

    Thanks, Ann! I enjoy writing, traveling, and taking the photos. Stay in touch. Let me know what you want to learn about.


You are encouraged to leave your two cents.