I recently finished Country Driving: A Chinese Road Trip by Peter Hessler.  Fun enough, Mr. Hessler is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) who spent his service teaching English in the Sichuan Province (1996-98).

I’m not offering a book review (because there are plenty herehere, and here) but I still wanted to note some of his observations about the rapid development of China.  In many ways I wonder if they are applicable to the Albanian context and the rapid change that is occurring here.

The following page numbers refer to the Harper Perennial soft cover edition from 2011 (ISBN: 978-0-06-180410-6).

“The frame of reference no longer consisted of the limited resources available in Wushenqi, but rather the infinite products available in the city.  By learning more about other places, residents had lost touch with their immediate environment.” (Book I: The Wall, Chapter I, pg. 56)

“The longer I lived in China, the more I worried about how people responded to rapid change.  This wasn’t an issue of modernization, at least not in an absolute sense […]. But there were costs when this process happened so fast.” (Book II: The Village, Chapter III, pg. 263)

If you have comments please share below.  I love a good public discourse.  In other thoughts, thanks Betty for the book.  I really enjoyed it and all the wonderful characters that Hessler encountered.

Books, my lovely friends,  are the lifeblood of the volunteer (though drinky-drinks help) and I am quickly devouring my small library.  Come winter I may be hungry.

I just had my first Albania Couchsurfing experience and hosted two young Polish women at their wits-end to find a place to crash.  They are attempting to hitch-hike to Peshkopi today on their way to heaven-knows-where.  Best of luck ladies!

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