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巨变北京速成怀旧情思

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所有这一切让我感到有些悲伤,因为我喜欢住在城市边缘的那种感觉。但我不会喋喋不休地谈论过去如何如何,况且我在此居住的时间也并不长。每个人对“正常”的理解都是在初来乍到那一刻就形成了。唯一不变的是“不停的变化”,以及了解当地居民对变化的感受之难。
All of this leaves me a little sad because I liked the feeling of living on the frontier. But I'm not going to fall into the trap of talking about how things used to be, especially after living here such a short time. Everyone's view of 'normal' starts the moment they arrive. The one thing that won't change is the continual change -- or the difficulty in gauging just how local residents feel about it.

最近,我花了一天的时间开车逛了一下这条新建高速公路直接影响到的地区,通过翻译询问人们有何感想。一个常见的回答是,“这对我没有影响”。他们会说新建高速公路离他们的住处比较远,然后用手指向最多四分之一英里远的地方。我顺着与这条高速公路并行的另一条土路开过去,看到一台推土机正在敲倒一幢房子。道路两边的建筑物都已被推倒了。两周前,这里还是一条僻静的乡间小路。我问一个骑车而过的人对此有何感想。他回答说,“那些人得到了很多搬迁费。我希望我也是搬迁户。可是我的房子在那边,不需要搬。”
I recently spent a day driving around areas directly affected by the new highway, asking people what they thought, with the aid of a translator. A common refrain was, 'It doesn't affect me.' The person was likely to say they don't live close to the new highway, before pointing to an area at most a quarter mile away. I drove down another back road which will run next to the expressway and saw a frontloader knocking down a house. Buildings on either side were already demolished. Two weeks ago, this was a quiet country lane. I asked a man biking by how he felt about this. 'Those guys got a lot of money for their house,' he said. 'I wish it was mine. Mine is over there and they don't want it.'

在孙河市场周边地区,虽然这条高速公路离一些商贩非常近,路的影子都会罩过来,但很多商贩说公路不会影响到他们;也有人说这里车流量会增加,会有更多的顾客。我感觉到其中掺杂着宿命情绪和乐观情绪,但与我的想法背道而驰。
Inside the neighboring Sunhe Market, many vendors said the highway wouldn't affect them -- though it will run close enough to cast a shadow -- while others said it would bring more cars and therefore more customers. I sensed an odd mix of fatalism and optimism, which both run counter to my own views.

只有一个商贩毫不隐瞒自己的疑虑。他指着店铺前两三码以外一个只剩空壳的房子说,“他们让我从那幢房子里搬出来,因为离路太近了。”他6月份才搬到这里,之前他在市区以北12英里远的地方开店,但是店铺的房子被已经被推倒了。“我不想再搬来搬去了,这太痛苦了。”
Only one vendor was openly skeptical. 'They moved me out of that building because it will be too close to the highway,' he said, pointing to an empty shell just two or three yards from his current front door. He relocated to the market in June because the building housing his previous store some 12 miles north of town had been torn down. 'I don't want to move again, because it's a pain.'

他不该指望能在这里呆上很久。在路边一片空地上,正在建设新的中国国际展览中心。它占地660,000平方米,会使这个地区仅存的一点乡村气息荡然无存。一个大酒店已在公路对面拔地而起,一个大型购物中心Europlaza也即将开业。
He shouldn't get too settled in his new digs. A new China International Exhibition Center is rising out of a formerly empty lot up the road -- a 660,000 square meter facility that will permanently quash whatever rural feeling this area retains. A giant hotel has already risen across the street and a large mall, the 'Europlaza,' is ready to open soon.

有传言说Europlaza里面会有麦当劳、Megaplex电影院等等设施。有些人热切盼望着它的开业,而有些人对此有保留意见,我就是其中之一。与这个新建的庞然大物相比,附近的日祥广场(Pinnacle Plaza)相形见绌。日祥广场是外国人的天堂,里面有玩具店、小餐馆、达美乐披萨店(Domino's)、星巴克咖啡店(Starbucks)和巴斯金•罗宾斯冰淇淋店(Baskin-Robbins)。在我们大部分人来到这里之前,日祥广场就已经矗立在那了,所以它已与周围环境融为一体,而不是外来闯入者。它确实也是个“古老”的建筑──已经有七年之久了。
The rumor mill is churning, with talk of a McDonald's, megaplex movie theater and more. Some people look forward to its opening, but I am not alone in cringing. The new construction is dwarfing the nearby Pinnacle Plaza, something of an expat oasis, featuring a toy store, a diner, Domino's, Starbucks and Baskin-Robbins. Because it was there when most of us arrived, Pinnacle Plaza seems like a natural part of the landscape rather than an alien invader. It really is an ancient edifice, too -- it's been here for seven years.

* * *

Alan Paul:

这是我写的第50篇《老外在中国》专栏文章。虽然我知道除我之外,这对其他人来说没有什么意义,但我还是希望借此机会感谢读者提供的宝贵反馈。请继续提出意见和建议。我也会继续努力。我还要感谢《华尔街日报》北京分社的研究人员和新闻助理们,他们为好几个专栏都提供了极大帮助。
This is my 50th Expat Life column. Though I realize that this milestone surely means little to anyone other than me, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank readers for all of their great feedback. Please keep it coming. I will try to do the same. Thanks also to the researchers and news assistants at the WSJ Beijing bureau, who have provided immeasurable assistance for several columns.



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