Well here we are in Dezhow. Forty five degrees at 2pm. Last night we stayed at an absolutely beautiful hotel.
There was this incredible furniture set, all hand carved:
Here is better detail:
There was food for purchase in the lobby, including:
Beautiful room, great dinner too. I took some more photos while on the Road from Beijing to here yesterday. My assement of Chinese traffic is that it is just like U.S cities. The Chinese city dwellers practice creative parking, like this:
This was all on the same one half block stretch in Beijing. As I said the cars are big like ours except for pickups and really big SUVs. Pickups are not allowed in the center of Beijing. Cars from other cities in China are only allowed in Beijing about once a month. You can tell the city of origin by the license plate. I got a bit more clarity on the license to have a car. In Beijing, a license to have a car is about $12,000 per year. However, the government gives out 1 free license per month per 1000 applicants. So unless you want to pay a whole lot, the wait for a license can be long. Gasoline is about $4 per gallon. Gas powered motorcycles are prohibited, but one sees a great variety of small electric scooters, bike, trucks, like these:
In Dezohou, our road has special lanes for scooters and bikes, but that is the exception to the rule in most places. They dart in and out of traffic, with little concern for life or limb or so it seems.
In my room at the hotel I found two packs of crappy Nescafé instant coffee/milk , more likely fake milk, and two cartons of yogurt, among other things. I was glad to see the Nescafé, even though it is a poor substitute for the real thing. Next time I am bringing my own instant coffee.
Here is a not so great picture of a cancer hospital:
In China people pay a deductible for medical care. For example Kai pays 1800 yuan himself each year , about $260. After that the government pays 90 % or more. In smaller towns the deductible is higher and/or the government pays a lower percentage; seems backwards to me since incomes are so much lower in the country.
Today we visited an outstanding dairy of about 5,000 cows: Phots are prohibited, but I got a couple from the outside:
Barns, very nice, fairly new
This farm was top notch in every way, 90 lbs milk per day per cow, 36% Pg rate, very little mastitis, clean and comfortable cows. The managers were young, intelligent, probably well educated. They were on top of pretty much everything. Of course every farm has problems, and we spent the morning walking around and talking followed by about an hour conference with all of the managers. I would put this farm up against the best farms anywhere in the world. There are a few big differences between our farms and these. First, as I said before that have much more labor, probably at least four to six times more for a similar enterprise. Kai estimates a milker makes, on average $3.00 per hour US, so the total labor cost per hundredweight of milk may resemble ours, but that’s just a guess. Second, I saw very little crowding in pens. Most of my American clients would easily pack 30% more animals per pen. The new farms I visited have state of the art equipment and buildings. The capital expense per cow must be pretty high. The techniques and practices I saw mirror what we do in the US for the most part. Third, most feed is imported. Corn silage was grown on all the farms I saw. The farm today tried growing alfalfa for haylage for the first time last year, but I did not see this anywhere else. I expect overall feed costs are high per hundredweight.
Now we are in line to board the high speed train to Beijing. Yesterday we took a three hour taxi ride to get here. I asked Kai what that cost, and he just said “very high”. I would think about $500 or more in the US.
Now we are cruising along to Beijing:
You can see it cost 144.5 yuan, we are going from Dezhou to Beijing. The “ong” on the end designates it is the east station for the high speed train. The “nan means the south high speed station. Low speed trains have separate stations. When we got to the station I became excited because Kai said this time we would ride the new, very fast train. It looks like this:
350 km per hour with one arm behind its back. This train is 100% Chinese manufacturing, and I think China is proud of this. Anyway I was watching the sign on the wall to see how fast this puppy would go. Alas the best she could do was a relatievly pedestrian:
I am disappointed. Turns out this train does not go as fast on this route as the Beijing to Shanghai’s route; Kai is not sure why. There is a video screen explaining things about the development of this train. They have a 600 km per hour model in development. That’s about 360 miles per hour!
I would describe most of the landscape around here as unremarkable. Mostly it is very flat.
One thing to note is the number of buildings going up. Notice the cranes in the upper picture. I have seen 40 or 50 in one spot. As I said before the scale of the population here is shocking. I have, in just a few days been in cities with a combined population of close to 50 million, all near Beijing.
Should be in Beijing soon. We might do a bit of quick sightseeing after we get there. No more Chinese cows for me….