idols coming to town

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This post is about a 15km walk from Pingding to Yangquan. I comfortably walk from one urban center to the next.

Here in China, the administration can sometimes look a bit intimidating:

Pingding government

…even kafkaesque in a way.

I was a bit grumpy in the morning, because AGAIN the night had been cold. So when I ran into a group of little boys I used the opportunity to vent a little. They provided an excellent opportunity.

little dudes

Three boys, all about 10 years old, standing on a street corner. I walk up, they notice me.

boy 1: “Look there! 看那边!”

boy 2 : “A foreigner 老外!”

boy 3 : “Fuck! 我肏!”

me: “Hey you, what you think you’re doing? Who told you to use foul language? 诶,你肏什么呀你!谁让你说脏话啊?”

boy 1 and boy 2 (pointing at boy 3): “It was him! He said it! 是他!他说的!”

boy 3: blushes and runs away.

Chris wins.


an icon

Later I somehow got into a better mood. I even found a picture of Mao Zedong 毛泽东 – the first one on this trip:

Mao poster

I like the way he tends to appear totally at random, sometimes overwhelming as a statue on a public square, sometimes just as a tiny button or something.

Mao can be anything, an icon or an accessory. Just not a mass murderer.

Often when I’m sorting out pictures at night, there’s this series on TV, it shows the young Mao puffing on cigarettes, looking very wise, and of course outsmarting everyone else. At the end of each episode there’s a song where they sing: “Missing Mao Zedong 想念毛泽东”. I always wonder why they don’t use the expression Chairman Mao in that song. Maybe it’s more personal this way…

easy walking

Anyway today’s walk from Pingding to Yangquan was easy as pie. I kind of just migrated within the city limits of two towns. And in between, I shot some artsy-fartsy pictures of a toll station:

toll station on the walk from Pingding to Yangquan

…then I found myself in my destination, Yangquan:

end of the walk from Pingding to Yangquan

Good weather made the place appear pretty nice. I kind of stalked all over town, from hotel to hotel, trying to find a place that offered good heating at a bargain price.

Somewhere between the sixth and the eighth hotel, I captured this scene:

walk from Pingding to Yangquan

This could have been one of my all-time favorites if the guy with the hood was just a big larger in the frame. Well, no way to plan for a picture like this. Next time!

Oh, and did you know that Santa Claus is coming to town here in Yangquan?

supermarket in Yangquan

Good old Santa. What did he come here for?

He can be an icon or an accessory, like Chairman Mao in a way (just without killing millions).

  • Rubi

    ich bin 50mm-fan geworden. macht voll bock, werde glaub ich bald auf das etwas größere 50mm von canon investieren, 200€, 1.4 glaub ich aber halt nicht so plastik-unstabil, das stört mich bei dem kleinen ein bisschen.
    ich schlafe nachts übrigens auch immer ohne heizung. und MICH stört das nicht.


  • Hailey

    hope you find a warm place to sleep tonight! The weather got really bad here; there was an icestorm that caused finals to be delayed yesterday. By the way, you were saying fuck around me all the time when I wasn't much older than those boys. 😉


  • Christoph

    Rubi: 50mm ist super, ne? Ich glaube auch, dass das 1.4 besser ist. Der Punkt bei dem 1.8 ist der wabblige Fokus, den fand ich immer ein bisschen schwierig. Das mit der Heizung ist so ne Sache. Du wohnst in nem top-isolierten deutschen Haus mit doppelverglasten Fenstern. Naja, und wie hier teilweise die Hotels sind weißt du ja.
    Hailey: I hope all you guys are well and maybe even using the opportunity for a friendly snowball-exchange! The F-word is totally beyond my conception, I would have NEVER EVER used that, ask Marvin, ask Wanda! 😉


  • 小欣



  • Christoph



  • Hailey

    would be glad to throw snowballs if we had snow to make them with! we just had ice. and, haha, you don't think I remember? I remember. You told me that words like sucks and f… should be spelled sux and fux. I believe that was the first day I met you, when we were all in Tennessee for Marvin's family reunion. But surely I just made that up in my head.. you would never say such things! lol


  • Christoph

    Haha, okay, you got me on this one!
    Hailey wins.
    I think Marvin will remember the episode of me singing "the roof is on fire" in the shower in Tennessee, too.
    Anyways, that family reunion was really nice, I had an awesome time!
    Would love to go again!


  • 蔚峥

    我是阳泉人,我在google earth上看到了你的照片,正好是我家门前的那条马路,然后进入了这里,看到了你的旅行,you’re awesome. ^^


  • Jesse

    Ha! My mom’s from Yangquan, so me and my family go back there quite often. Yangquan really is pretty kafkaesque, like those dilapidated dystopian cities you see in movies and games.


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