Country Driving: A Journey Through China from Farm to by Peter Hessler

By Peter Hessler

“Hessler has a fabulous feel of the intonations and gestures that provide lifestyles to the moment.” —The manhattan occasions e-book Review

From Peter Hessler, the New York Times bestselling writer of Oracle Bones and River Town, comes Country Driving, the 3rd and ultimate e-book in his award-winning China trilogy. Country Driving addresses the human part of the industrial revolution in China, concentrating on economics and improvement, and exhibits how the car increase is helping China shift from rural to city, from farming to company.

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Additional info for Country Driving: A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory

Sample text

Usually I awoke early, but there was never any schedule or plan. I tried to keep the Great Wall in sight, and I stopped whenever something interested me. I figured out the route as I went; on many days I traveled less than one hundred miles. Rural driving tended to be slow, because often something was happening in the street—a crop threshing, a sheep crossing, a funeral procession. The roads themselves were completely unpredictable. A thin red line on my Sinomap might represent a brand-new asphalt road, but it could also be a dirt track or even a dry creekbed.

That was happening everywhere: in Beijing alone, almost a thousand new drivers registered on average each day, the pioneers of a nationwide auto boom. Most of them came from the growing middle class, for whom a car represented mobility, prosperity, modernity. For me, it meant adventure. The questions of the written driver’s exam suggested a world where nothing could be taken for granted: 223. If you come to a road that has been flooded, you should a) accelerate, so the motor doesn’t flood. b) stop, examine the water to make sure it’s shallow, and drive across slowly.

A dog,” I said. ” he said. ” “The dog had a problem,” I said. ” Mr. Wang’s smile got bigger. ” “It wasn’t that kind of dog,” I said. ” “Well, sometimes if a driver hits a big dog,” Mr. ” I couldn’t tell if he was joking; he was a dog owner himself, but in China that doesn’t necessarily involve dietary restrictions. He charged me twelve bucks for the light cover—the same price as a midsize dent. They never asked where I was taking the Jeep Cherokee. The rental contract specifically forbade drivers from leaving the Beijing region, but I decided to ignore this rule—they wouldn’t figure it out until I returned the Jeep with a loaded odometer.

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