Jul 11, 2007

The Mongols Are Coming…To Build Roads?

Our man in Dushanbe hits the road, only to discover that there isn't one, yet (from James).

The Chinese have seen fit to rebuild virtually every major road in Tajikistan, including the main north-south corridor linking Dushanbe with Khojand, the commercial center in the north.

I was on the road a few weeks ago and it's not good. Picture I-95, but one lane, dirt, prone to rock slides, hugging sheer cliffs, climbing a 12,000 foot pass and closed for three months every year. And the Chinese have decided to work on the entire road at once, rather than piece by piece, so the whole thing is bulldozed and cratered.

The article below points to the unforeseen downside of 400 million dollars in zero interest loans (besides impending economic servitude to the Middle Kingdom, that is). The Chinese have insisted that only Chinese workers build the road, so the country is flooded with thousands of bewildered peasants from Anhui and other cheery provinces living in tents along the road. I didn't believe it until I saw it. I'll try to get you a picture.

Yet, craving some good old home cooking, the Chinese workers are now ravaging the countryside in search of snakes, turtles and god knows what else, threatening to wipe them out. And after having eaten meat on a stick for the past few weeks, I don't blame them.

1 comment:

Mrta said...

Yeah, when our representative in Tajikistan recruits at universities to tell students about scholarships to study in the US, he does it by helicopter.