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This post is about a 39km walk from Gucheng to Baoding. It’s my longest walk yet – and it damn nearly destroys me.

I got help today, and I needed it badly.

Waking up in that sub-zero hotel room in Gucheng, Zhu Hui came up with an idea: “Why don’t we just walk all the way to Baoding – today?” he asked me.

“Well,” I said, “because it’s 35km to Baoding! We’ll never make it.”

Zhu Hui thought for a while: “It’s not about the distance – it’s about the weight of your bag! We’ll put it on my bike and push it to Baoding. That way you can get your camera fixed as soon as tomorrow!”

Said and done.

Zhu Hui walking from Gucheng to Baoding

My backpack went on the back of my friend’s bicycle. I thought we would at least share the burden by taking turns pushing the bike. But Zhu Hui only took a few bird pictures:


Then he insisted on pushing the bike all the way to Baoding, navigating through taxis and police cars, fruit stands and construction vehicles, while I was behind him trying to keep up. My feet were killing me.

In the end we really did make it to Baoding. And it’s all because of Zhu Hui.

Zhu Hui in the distance

I would see him in the distance pushing the bike, and I would just try to follow him and keep up. My feet would say stop! – but I would answer: shut up, we’ve got to follow Zhu Hui!

the moon

It was nightfall before we entered Baoding, but we made it – and then help from Beijing arrived:

Momo (center) helped me get my broken lens to a repair shop

My neighbor and very good friend Xiaohei.

I gave him a call today right before we reached Baoding, and I said: “Man, I’m fucked, one of my lenses is broken. Is there any way I can get it to Beijing to get it fixed?”

And the dude gets in his car with his friends Haozi 浩子 and Momo and comes down to Baoding right away to save me and my messed up camera. Now that’s awesome, isn’t it?



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