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Notes about China
Land of fences
When the author had got to China for the first time, most of his attention was attracted by construction. Not in terms of amount of construction sites, buildings' height, speed of work day and night. That was not unclear. Working skill and desire to build good and quickly are quite clear and excite white envy. Another thing was absolutely unclear.
Each construction site was surrounded by a brick wall. Having seen it for the first time, the author and his friend specially came more close and saw that the bricks were accurately combined in stacks, carrying out function of fence as well. Feeling glad for wise Chineses who do not store bricks without purpose, we made some laugh that at our country such a wall could not survive by next morning. But having seen other construction sites, we made one more discovery: the majority of protecting walls were stacked on mortar, 1 - 1,5 brick in thickness, and cabins, instead of trailers usual for us, were made of brick too. Then there was a hypothesis, that the fence and cabins were provided to use after the construction finishes. However, later we were happened to see the typical end of construction.
The building was decored and even signs were hung. The workers in helmets, armed with crowbars and sledge-hammers, supported by the bulldozer, cheerfully yelling attacked the protecting wall and started to break it. The bulldozer raked broken bricks in a heap. Then dredge had arrived and begun to load the heap by portions into arriving dumptrucks. It was sad to look, how vanishes out the brick enough to build several cottages.
And then they brought more brick and erected a new wall around backyard of a building.
If to observe Chinese villages through train's window, it is visible that every household is fenced. Quite uderstandable. The owners protect their territory from casual and not casual encroachments. By the house there is a kitchen garden. Also understandable to Russians, who work hard at their gardens on Sundays. But why the plants are fenced not only off external world but off the house as well? If there is a pigpen or hen-house it is possible to understand: that for your livestock not to spoil your vegetables. But where livestock is present, these spots are divided from houses the same way as plants. Why so many fences on such a little area?
Some firm for temporary warehousing of cargoes from Russia needs a site nearby the station of Manchuria. There is no land problem in Manchuria - around the town there is continuous prairie. As it seems, if you got a site, so hammer some poles into ground and stretch barb-wire. But the firm buys bricks, employs a team of masons, and they erect a solid wall on the basement along the perimeter of site. The firm knows, that it will exist no more than two years, and the site is required probably for single deliveries in total for some months. To liquidate (in economic terms) this site it will be possible at the best for cost of its rent from local authority. Nobody will pay for unnecessary fence, but if the fence to someone is necessary, the buyer of a site will not say about it - there are no fools to raise the price of purchase. It turns out, that the construction of a brick fence, although not ruinous from the point of financial situation of firm, in economic terms is not justified.
Certainly, in China they make a lot of brick. In almost every populated point there is at least one, even if small and primitive, but own brick factory. Lack of a brick nobody feels.
Nevertheless, this brick is not free, it costs money. To use brick it is necessary to make mortar. As against a plaster mortar, which is possible to mix on pure lime, for masonry the cement is necessary. The cement in China is not so affordable as brick. The masons are required to work, and considering the quality of brick-laying, qualified enough. It is necessary to pay for their work too. So the erection of fence costs a pretty penny.
For very long time I could not explain to myself the reasons forcing the Chineses to erect stone walls in every more or less suitable place. The understanding came while visiting Great Wall: "What other can one expect from a nation which constructed the largest fence in the world?!"
© Dmitry Alemasov
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