Water. That crucial element, necessary for life. It ebbs and flows. It’s magnificent and microscopic. It’s both a zillion drops and one ocean. In our journey across China we encountered water in many forms…
- drinking water: It’s not safe to drink, so you have to buy bottles of water. The bottles get thrown in the river, making the water not safe to drink.
- expectorating water: You’ve got crud in your throat from the Beijing smog? Spit it out! Watch out for all of those wet globs on the pavement.
- passing water: As we opened the curtains for the first time on our first morning in Beijing, it wasn’t ten minutes before we saw someone peeing on the sidewalk. I smugly told my husband, “See, I told you!”
- falling water: A rainstorm cleared out the smog, and to my joy I saw my first clean blue sky over the city. It only took me four tries!
- dangerous water: I wondered if the average Chinese child doesn’t learn to swim in his youth. Every pond has a drowning warning, and the Water Cube at the Olympic Park has a mandatory swim test for every swimmer. I wouldn’t recommend swimming in the ponds in any case.
- cleansing water: Our fanciest, most expensive hotel was in Beijing, and even they couldn’t stop the sewer smell that filled the bathroom every time we turned on the tap.
- boiling water: All of our hotel rooms came with an electric kettle so we could boil water and make it safe for drinking or brushing our teeth. Our hotel in Ganzi didn’t have one, so I stole it from the ‘show’ room they’d presented when asking us if we’d like to stay there. In Litang, the town was such a disgusting hole that we didn’t even bother boiling the water. We used bottled water for everything.
- perspiring water: It was hot. It was humid. I came home every evening soaked in sweat, then washed my clothes in the sink for the next day. We smelled lovely. Fortunately, that was just in Beijing.
- powerful water: In Tiger Leaping Gorge we went to the rock from whence the tiger supposedly sprung. The rock is huge, but the river was so powerful we could feel it shaking beneath us.
- holy water: We’ll end on a beautiful note. The lakes in Tibet are holy, so no one is allowed to build around them. It was so, so wonderful to see lakes surrounded by nothing but rock and sky instead of luxury vacation homes.
Revelation 22:1 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.