Let’s start off with some happy stuff:
The staff of Lanhai Hotel in Liulihe were really nice and friendly. They told me that basically the only way for me to go if I wanted to get to the pagodas in Zhuozhou was to continue on that nasty street I’d been whining about the day before.
But even though this piece of news was a particularly bad one, I still left off on a good foot, just because these people were so nice.
Then I did what I had been planning to do for the last months: I walked. Head down, trying not to inhale as many poisonous fumes, I just walked, and that’s it. No romance, no glory, nothing to talk about.
Until I met Niuniu 妞妞:
Niuniu is six years old. Last year she decided to cross the street in front of the store where she lives. Bad mistake. They scraped what was left of poor Niuniu off the floor and took her into the house to see if there was any way she could make it.
She had to get carried outside to pee and crap for more than two months. “Niuniu, you wanna take a shit?” 妞妞，你要拉屎吗？they would ask her, and if she tried to get up, that meant they would have to carry her outside.
Niuniu made it.
Her front paws are crooked, and especially the bone that is still sticking out makes her look miserable. But Niuniu has actually been given more love than most of the other dogs I have been noticing on the street. She doesn’t try to cross the street anymore. She just walks around the house, and when she gets angry or wants to play she stands on her hind legs and looks very cute.
I was still thinking about poor dogs and lucky dogs when I met Zhu Hui 朱辉:
Zhuhui – cool guy, fitness trainer from Xinjiang, rides his bike around, sometimes for thousands of miles, this time just for a short trip around Beijing.
Oh, how I envied the dude: no tent, no sleeping bag (I carry 2!), no cameras, just a tiny backpack, and what’s best – the man’s FEET DON’T HURT!
We decided to look at the pagoda in Zhuozhou together, but they wouldn’t let us in. And they had a sign put up that warned us from a suspicious dog they had hidden inside. I suddenly thought of Niuniu again.
I didn’t bother much about the pagoda. They wouldn’t show it to us, they had scary dogs – fine! I just wanted to get to a hotel where I would be able to put my feet in a bowl of hot water. It was 4pm and I had my hotel room at 5pm, but I obviously didn’t know that yet. Should have asked this dude:
This guy is a fortune teller. Now I was so dazzled by the bling that I forgot to ask his name, but I am sure he knew that that was going to happen anyway.
Should I have asked this guy about my walk home? But would I even go on this journey if I had a way of knowing what was going to happen?
Niuniu should have asked him before crossing the street though.