a breeze of anguish

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This post is about a 31km walk from Yuci to Dongyang. I spend a few hours in the old town of Yuci, then I see misery on the road.

Yuci is well-known for its reconstructed “old town”:

Yuci Old Town

It’s also known as Jinzhong jin zhong, and nothing here is really old. A lot of Chinese production teams come here to shoot.

history as enjoyment

I ran into some students from Shandong 山东 who were taking pictures:

taking pictures in Yuci

To me, it’s again about the question of how people interact with their history.

These kids were born a long time after the death of Chairman Mao. They probably know only very little of the hardships their elder generations had to go through. And here they are taking pictures in imperial costumes. Mao would have put them in prison for it. Or worse.

I guess enjoying something simply because it looks nice is an underestimated privilege.

the hole

There was an old prison to look at, and this was one of the cells:

ancient prison cell

Hard times.

Then I noticed the hole:

exit of the ancient prison

See the thing in the center at the end of the wall? It used to be an opening to get rid of the corpses of all the inmates who had died during their imprisonment.

I wonder how many people have entered this place from the door and left it through the hole. What a terrible thought.


But hey, did I mention that this old town is quite pleasing to the eye?


I spent about four hours running around the place in a picture-taking frenzy.

Even this cat looked somehow meaningful to me:

two-eyed cat

When I finally started to walk from Yuci to Dongyang, it was easy. You might even call it a breeze. I passed a place where they made tombstones:

tombstone inscription on the walk from Yuci to Dongyang

This one was for a person whose family name was Yu 宇, and it was custom-made after the person had already passed away. They told me that they did get advance orders on a regular basis, though. I wonder what it must feel like to order your own tombstone.

the anguish

Pondering about this thought (or was I just counting my own footsteps?), I heard something that resembled a whimpering dog from afar.

A dog it was not. It was pure anguish:

pain on the walk from Yuci to Dongyang

This lost soul was standing there facing a pile of rubbish, and she was crying and crying and crying her eyes out. Some people were looking on. I asked an old man who came walking in my direction, but he turned out to be mute or deaf or both.

Why didn’t I ask her? I think I was scared. Scared of what? Scared of contamination by misery.

Here’s a picture that I took later in the night, while I was still walking south:

the end of the walk from Yuci to Dongyang

  • joao

    Hey, can I ask you some questions out of curiosity? If you can reply tom y email, I's really appreciate it!
    What is your backpack like? I mean how many kilos and what is it that you take?
    Do you use only one backpack?
    Do you carry nikon or canon or none of them?


  • Christoph

    Hey Joao, I think my stuff pounds in at about >20kg (check Nov. 9th for more detail)
    Besides clothes and stuff I got a tent, 2 sleeping bags, a GPS and a small notebook computer, all in one backpack.
    The SLRS are in two toploader bags that I carry left and right.
    Sometimes it feels really like I'm some kind of a "Transformer" or something…


  • Chance

    How come two sleeping bags?


  • Meagan

    The picture you took of the woman touched me. Such misery. So sad. I hope she found some peace.


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