The Ningbo road runs east out of Hangzhou across the Qian Jiang, through plastic wrapped hydroponic bean fields and rusting industrial plant. Its a wide pale cement road cracked even though it is new. There are polished petrol stations every few miles retching up out of the farmland like metallic boils. The further you go from the capital the more the land begins to look like a Chinese print.

About forty minutes from Hangzhou the road begins to curve as the rice land rears up into a sudden steep hill. Alright, a mountain. A small mountain. Xiao Shan. The mountain is yellow. The channel bubbling along the Shan's foot is yellow. The sky is yellow. Actually the ancient plastic window of the revolutionary era bus is the color of rank butter. As the bus rattles closer you can see that the Shan is really two small mountains. The road angles through a narrow cut between cliffs. There is a steel gantry lolling over the further, smaller Shan. A thin spread line of off white cement boxes lines the road across from the Shans, facing the channel of yellow water. These appear to be what we had begun calling 'useless goods stores.' They carried cheap bread, cheaper batteries, candles, and moldy fruit. Beyond the boxes and fields and the looming Shan there isn't much there. The yellow road is very dusty.

The sun was dancing around the top of the Shan as we shot the pass. I looked way up at the larger Shan as we rumbled by and almost immediately lost count of the tombs. Their ornamental limestone encrusts the jammed slope from foot to tip. They glow and sparkle yellow in the sun.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.