Another sign of increasing affluence was the amount of construction. As we drove through the Pearl River Delta or approached the cities, we could see new factories, offices and apartment blocks, covering what had been prime fertile land. In the countryside, new houses were a frequent sight. Most of them were built of ugly red brick; more affluent owners faced the building with tiles. To my eyes, it was a pity that these houses were not built to be more in keeping with the traditional buildings.