definition of hurt

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This post is about a 23km walk from Luquan to Jingxing. I walk past a prison, a lot of environmental damage, and a funeral procession.

I woke up and went down the hallway to brush my teeth:

hotel in Luquan

Then I put on my backpack and started walking on that long winding road.

I had no idea about the suffering that I would see today.

For everything there’s a first. Here’s my first prison in China:

a prison between luquan and jingxing

At least that’s what people were telling me. This is one where they make people work in the labor force. I didn’t dare to go near, but someone told me that the inmates have to break their backs doing this:

white stuff

Mud. As you can imagine, digging up mud in a penitentiary isn’t very pleasing and doesn’t pay very well. I wondered if this was part of laogai – the so-called “reform through labor”.

But it wasn’t only the inmates who were having some pretty rough days.

It was worse: the very soil that they lived on, the ground that I was walking on today, it was suffering. In fact the earth sometimes looked like an open wound itself:

pile of coal between luquan and jingxing

Always remember that THIS is what the glitzer-towns of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou are built upon.

Layer after layer of the earth gets taken away.

the road to walk from Luquan to Jingxing

It’s nature’s last stance in some places.

…and the water:

something that was once water

It reminded me of Yellowstone’s volcanic springs. In a very cynical way.

After all this I needed a break – and I found the perfect spot for it:

pavillon between luquan and jingxing

There wasn’t a bit of suffering up here.

Listening to the vehicles rushing by on the highway below, I was having crackers and a yogurt drink. That was until something came up soaring from below and BLASTED just a few meters from me, almost shattering my eardrums and thus ruining my lunch break.

Another f… wedding ceremony, I thought.

Someone once told me that I am very often wrong:

fire crackers

It was a funeral.


I didn’t want to bother these poor grieving souls, so I kept my distance, didn’t take a lot of pictures and just observed what was going on.

Suffering and sadness. Beautiful for the onlooker.

Enough of that – here’s something funny to round it up for today:

dog meat hot pot

Would you go eat there?

Everybody knows that some people in China eat dogs. It’s true. And every Chinese person is going to tell you that they don’t eat as many dogs as you would think. And that they only eat a special breed of dog, a kind of meat-dog, not your average pet dog around the corner. This is also true.

And so I wonder: who the hell came up with the idea for the design with the sad puppy in the pot? I mean, COME ON…

Oh, and I made sure that my hotel room had some adequate heating today:


It was right next to the power plant. I’ll have a warm night I guess.

To the poor souls hurting today, to Nature bleeding away, to the people being or not being reformed through labor: I wish them peace.

  • Hailey

    Haha I could pick up a bowling ball when I was 4, you dork. Besides, it's not about experience, it's about SKILLS. And I got skills!
    On a serious note, how do you afford hotels every night? How long did you save up for this? Do you buy food everyday?
    Don't mean to interrogate 🙂 I've been telling everyone about your journey; I think it is way cool! Glad you have a warm bed to sleep in tonight. 🙂


  • Wanda

    Me too…I pray for peace, no pain, and no dogs eaten!


  • Marvin

    Dogs hu! Did you ask them about cat's and tell them you had one you would like to volunteer? Well I have to say I pray for different things than my lovely wife, although she prays for goodthings. I hope you have made plans to cover your butt when you get into the mountains. I'm sure they are going to be 10 times colder than walking up Rock Road in the winter time into a stiff Kansas wind. Remember? I don't think I have ever seen a more miserable soul. Ha, Ha.


  • Christoph

    Hailey: Up until now, I can live off about US$15 a day, sometimes a bit more, sometimes even less. The whole thing is financially based on a legacy though, and I think things should be okay for these two years until I am back home. And THEN I'm going to earn my money by being a professional bowler! HA!
    Wanda: Sometimes I think it's weird that dogs are poor but cows are not?
    Marvin: Gotta give some credit to the pioneers back in the days, for Kansas weather can be pretty rough, man! I should be fine though: I am all wrapped in crazy fly outdoor-gear (though I spilt yogurt on it yesterday).


  • Gay

    You may not remember me, but I am Wanda's sister. She has gotten me hooked on this incredible journey! Your pictures and stories are wonderful, and I am sharing with other friends and family. I admire you for what you are doing, as you have much courage. I will be watching for your book!


  • Christoph

    Hey Gay, I saw you at the wedding, didn't I?
    I am so happy you guys are actually enjoying this, really, that means so much to me!
    Plus I noticed this is a wonderful way of staying in touch with my beloved family in KS!


  • Jean-Luc

    Wenn ich mit überlege, was für Umstände wir hatten, um Hund zu essen. Und jetzt läufst Du direkt dran vorbei.


  • Christoph

    Hehe, auf dem Land wird gegessen, was auf den Tisch kommt, in der Stadt ist das was anderes!


  • alexyue



  • Christoph



  • Meagan

    The billboard with the sad puppy hurts my heart. But your comment about cows was also very poignant and thought provoking. It is something I think about often.


  • Joshua

    China’s degradations to environment
    Reminds me of here
    In California
    If it was 100 years in future
    And population had continued to ballon
    As it now is (Ca is growing by nearly 500k people per year!)

    I started your blog in Kazakhstan and it’s fun to re start w young Chris


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