Dong Xia was bored with village life. It was so quiet, so unchanging, so dull. He wanted thrills, excitement, noise, something, anything. Unfortunately, his solidly peasant hukou didn’t give him much geographic leeway.

As it was, all there was to do in town was to methodically cultivate his wall and roof gardens.  He had managed to successfully get trees to grow out of the plaster on the wall of his 3000 year old house, and had a rather excellent lawn flourishing on his roof.

He contemplated adding a disco ball and a few strings of blinking Christmas lights, and perhaps a decent sound system to play his beloved Lady Gaga.  He wondered briefly how much he’d need to stuff into a red envelope to be allowed to do that.

Rural officials were so expensive.

Photo courtesy of Laura Fishman (in Xidi Village)

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