Three lakes appear on this living map from my airplane window and another hydro-electric project in the north east. Long rectangular fields in a swath of green surround the lakes: agricultural production on a large organized scale. We pass over myriad toy barns given over, I suspect, to some sort of light industry. Then leave all that behind as we come to another mountain range dotted with trees, and uninhabited river valleys. Smoke rises from within the trees, a burning bush, its flames shooting high into the air, changing direction with the wind. More wider valleys appear; pockets of civilization stretching into the far distance. Even the tops of mountains are inhabited here. Villages, huddled in the lee of hillsides, grow into towns, widen into cities. Disappear again into another isolated region connected by a single road zigzagging across slopes thick with forest.
Eyes growing heavy, I lean against the window. Take in a modern bridge that crosses a river coiling like a well-fed snake across verdant fields; a fat brown python shedding its skin to merge with a blue waterway so straight it must be a canal. A cityscape looms with infrastructure of resevoirs, highways, flyovers, districts and townships. This is China, vast and changing.
I nod off, waking only with the announcement that we will be arriving shortly in New Delhi, India.