A quick personal note about the major earthquake in Sichuan, China. The epicenter was just west of Chengdu – city where my wife and son are – but they are fine, as is her extended family there, and the building.
I actually was in Bamako, Mali when it happened and heard about it at the end of a long day of meetings. Since the time was in the wee hours of the morning in Chengdu, I could not call, but accessed the business center of the Grand Hôtel, where I was staying. My son’s school’s website merely said they’d be closed for the next day – so the building was intact unlike at least one school to the west near Dujiangyan. News reports seemed to indicate that Chengdu city had not had the kind of devastation experienced in the mountainous regions. Eventually, late, I was able to call and get through to verify that all were okay.
So for now I’m back in the Washington area and we’ll continue this tricontinental living until the summer as planned.
We’d done some traveling out in the areas that are now in the news. Chengdu is on a plain, a “land of abundance” with ample waters controlled by the ancient weir (dam) in Dujiangyang. But mountains rise dramatically after that and beyond is the Tibetan plateau. Some very striking country – areas you go through and feel like one of the small figures in those wide Chinese landscape paintings. One of the places I’ve been thinking a lot of is a tiny community perched in the side of an impossibly steep mountain slope across the valley from village we once stayed in in an ethnically Tibetan area of Sichuan. Can’t remember the name of the place but one hopes that mountain didn’t shrug too hard. There are so many places out there, and their structures, and their inhabitants who must have suffered and struggle right now, or who perished.