This is a post about a 24km walk from Zhuozhou to Gaobeidian. My friend Zhu Hui and I visit two schools and a fortune teller.
Zhu Hui decided to try out the walking thing today. He pushed his bike alongside me while I was stumbling under the weight of my backpack.
On a side note, I am somehow starting to get the idea that some of the things that I’m hauling around might be absolutely useless to me…
The first thing we did today was have breakfast. Then we went to a school:
Zhuozhou Experimental Middle School. I’ve seen other Chinese schools before, but was the biggest one by far.
3.000 students simultaneously doing their morning exercise in the yard is a thing that a German small town boy doesn’t get to see everyday.
While I was still trying to find an angle to fit as many kids within the frame as possible, some of them came over to chat.
They had pretty good English. It seems as though China’s youth are not like the past generations when it comes to learning foreign languages.
That might have to do with a subtle change of attitude, though:
Poor kid, I tried to get him to relax a little for this picture, but he clearly didn’t feel comfortable with his classmates and the headmaster watching.
After a brief chat with the staff, Zhu Hui and I decided we’d have to hurry up in order to make it to the Zhang Fei Temple 张飞庙 on our way.
Little did we know we would run into even more students, though these were of a different kind:
Passing by this place on the highway, little would you know how many famous masters have studied in this school. Or maybe I just don’t know much about martial arts.
We decided to call this day the The Student Day 学生日.
Eventually we had to leave this place, too, and we took the short walk over to the Zhang Fei Temple:
Who would have guessed that Zhang Fei’s birthplace and tomb are both in this place? The temple is tiny, though, and not nearly comparable to Wuhou Temple 武侯祠 in Chengdu.
Then I did something that I usually never do:
I picked a lucky stick and had the chief Taoist read my fortune from it. There are three things I remember:
- My ventures shall be crowned by success. (aaaah)
- My business shall be prosperous. (what business?)
- My descendent shall be a university graduate. (you might guess how hard I laughed because of this one)
I think the main reason why I even decided to do this fortune telling thing was because I wanted to be polite. Another reason is that I was hoping to get some sort of positive answer about my trip.
Every night when I am putting my sore feet in that hot water bowl to ease the pain, I am worrying how long I will be able to keep walking like this…
In the end it turned out that the person with the “prosperous business” was the Taoist himself. You were supposed to tip him handsomely for his services.
Their business shall be prosperous, I thought, and then I handed over the money and took my friend Zhu Hui and left the temple.
The last bit of road today was particularly tiring: we were back on the highway, and my feet hurt more than ever. And it all looked the same. The only thing that really got my attention and made me lift up my head from that stupid road was this group of people who were all in white:
Completely white. Their house white. Their clothes white. Hands and hair, even their faces were white.
They were doing some kind of recycling work, and the dust that came with it made them white. Oh how I would have loved to take more pictures!
But they wouldn’t let me.
Zhu Hui explained that they felt uncomfortable being portrayed in a work environment like this. Too bad for all that beautiful white dust…
Now I’m in a hotel room in Gaobeidian, and Zhu Hui is here, too:
He’s writing his diary, I’m boring you with my blog, and my feet don’t hurt anymore because they are soaking in a bowl of hot water.
The neighbors next door are playing Chinese music on their tv. I’ve just devoured a small bag of chips and a chocolate candy bar.
It’s been a good day.