Flying Low

We roared into the Yangtze River Delta at 300 kilometers an hour, no more than ten meters above the rice fields and fish ponds. Low clouds the color of coal steam scudded beneath the overcast, and a mist hung over everything like a circular curtain three miles in any direction.

The low hills rose and fell beneath us, and for brief moments clusters of whitewashed concrete houses with grey roofs rushed by so close you felt like you were flying through bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens.

I was fighting fatigue, knowing it wasn’t burnout, just that state where you knew you needed more sleep you were getting – or a mainline jab of African espresso to smack the brain back into China time.