Content-Type: text/shitpost

Subject: Xiangtan
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!wikipedia​!twirlip​!am​!plovergw​!ploverhub​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-04-19T15:35:29
Newsgroup: comp.protocols.tcp-ip.xiangtan
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Every once in a while something happens to remind me of the immense bigness of the world, and I feel sad to think of how much of it I will never get to see. Today it happened when I was looking up Xiangtan, a city in China of a couple million people, around the size of the city in which I live, that I had never even heard of before. And not only is this not the first time this has happened to me, it's not even the first city in China that it has happened to me with! Last time it was Jinan which has 6.8 million people. How is it possible to be this ignorant?

Will I ever get to see Jinan? Probably not, but maybe a little. But will I ever get to know it? Or to know even a small part of it, well enough to see how it has changed since twenty years ago? No, it's too late for that. And there are more than a hundred cities just in China with populations over a million, with hundreds of neighborhoods each, all changing, all the time. And then there are cities not in China. And places that are not even in cities at all. And I will completely miss almost all of it. It makes me want to cry.

Writing on this a few years ago, I said:

It's one thing to want to visit Shanghai and never make it there. But it's a whole new level of sadness to realize that I should have wanted to visit Jinan but I didn't because I had never heard of the place.

I should probably try to maintain a more positive focus. Sometimes I get lucky. I was fortunate enough to accidentally witness the first East Belfast Lantern Parade in 2003. That was pretty excellent.

Xiangtan, by the way, turns out to be only about 55 km from the town where Mao was born.