Coal Mine tour with the Chinese

A few more snaps from the coal mine tour of last Monday. Interestingly, there were also about 15 other Chinese people on the excursion (which was the whole point of the event). And we're talking Chinese big-whigs. Not sure about most of them, but the Western Governor of Inner Mongolia was there. Some real Party old-schoolers, I'll bet.

I resisted the urge to say "how about that Dalai Lama!" or other such awkwardness inducing commie witticisms that come to a person's mind in such situations. You know what I'm talking about...

They ate the provided BBQ brisket and cole slaw lunch with chopsticks and laughed at the MADE IN CHINA stamped on the provided safety glasses. A humorous irony for all parties present, though we'll see who's still laughing in 50 years when China owns our entire flipping country. Words of wisdom: beat the rush, learn to use chopsticks now. It could be a Reddish-hued future...

Anyway, economic ramblings aside, the Party-pride moment of the day came when I talked with one of the twenty-something translators. We were chatting idly about Beijing where she lives and then she switched into robot, indoctrinated mode and pointedly told me I should definitely visit Beijing, and that it's a very wonderful, beautiful place. And then told me when I do visit the motherland that I "shouldn't bring many clothes. There are many clothes to buy in China."

I almost laughed it was such an awkward, forceful transition from small talk to anecdotal pitch. Seemingly far beyond an "I-love-my-country-and-am-proud-of-it" mindset. Golly.

At any rate, some additional photos of the day at the mine with los chinos are below.

(As a side note, the whole experience seemed somewhat surreal and random, what with being at a massive coal mine in a still largely foreign state and hearing Chinese peppered in here are there as lumbering hundreds-of-ton machinery ambled past on the desolate sage-brush frontier.)

World's largest scoop machine. We got to go up in the control room and watch it get its scoop thang on. Pretty impressive.

The world's largest series of dumptruck. She's a Caterpillar 400 ton jobby that carries an additional 400 tons of payload. Not your grampy's dump truck.

It's just really, really massive...

See...there's beauty in a coal mine too...

Attention spans waned after the chopstick-fed brisket lunch was over.

Wyoming has some of the cleanest burning, highest BTU content coal out there, so they say. The smallish looking dump truck there weighs 250 tons empty.

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