the happy and the burning red

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Today was a good day: subzero temperatures, but good.

I’d like to start off with this:

you make me

“You make me 你让我” – happy.

…the friendly group of workers who insisted on buying me lunch, the policemen who waved me in to have tea together, the countless motorcycle dudes who stopped and wanted to give me a ride, the shopkeeper who didn’t take my change, the girl in the hotel who sowed the hole in my pants – all the friendly faces who kept showing up smiling at me from everywhere…

Definitely a good place to walk around.

A lot of folks have been advising me to take public transportation though – as if I’d never heard of that idea before.

And really, every busload of people seems to be staring at me:

bus in Shanxi

They all seem a bit confused as to why anyone would deliberately choose to walk around in the cold outside.

“Foreigners…” they might think, “weird foreigners…” – and who am I to blame them?

I had a great time though, I even walked around in the fire for a minute:


A farmer was burning weeds next to his fields there. The fire moves and dies very quickly; for a second I felt really nice and warm from below (though breathing was hard in the smoke), then the fire had already moved on and I was back in the cold fresh air again.

Weird experience.

Over lunch I had a chat with some workers who were throwing a birthday party. Really nice folks, very friendly.

Then I found a truck driver with another interesting tattoo for the collection:

dragon tattoo

I asked him whether this was the trademark of some secret society, possibly an underworld thing?

The dude had a good laugh; then he told me he had done this by himself when he was seventeen, and that it meant “dragon” 龍 – aha!!
His nom de guerre?

Laughter again; it was the nickname his family and friends have called him since he was little.

suspicious enough, I thought, but a good investigator knows when to stop asking questions and understand the secret hints. But what were the secret hints?

I didn’t have time to think about this mystery for too long, however, because a short while later I bumped into the coal-shoveling guy:

coal place

I asked him if everybody could just come and take this stuff for free.

The coal-shoveling guy said yes.

How much coal did he need for a day on average?

getting coal

This much.

That’s a lot of coal and a lot of work for a night of warm air, huh?

I really felt happy to be back in the city by nightfall:

Jiexiu at night

More shops, more hotels, more restaurants, more people on the street:


You see the BDC fast food restaurant on the left? Looks like the brand with the colonel, doesn’t it? Pure coincidence I bet.

Anyways, after all the good stuff, here’s the bad news of the day:

My butt is burning, and it’s flaming red.

See for yourself, or close your eyes if you don’t want to see my burning butt:

my butt

I have three theories:

1) It’s too cold.

2) My backpack is rubbing against my butt while I’m walking.

3) My underwear has some kind of chemical left in it from last time I had it washed in the hotel laundry.

Who knows?

It was a good day anyways.

  • Réka

    Heute nach dem Motto "sex sells"?! Aber dann wünsch ich mal gute Besserung für den Po…:-)


  • Rubi

    du machst ernsthaft ein bild von deinem arsch? du hättest es doch einfach mit worten beschreiben können. aber wieso ein bild deines dicken schinkens? DAS WILL NIEMAND SEHEN!


  • wuhsi & Büh

    Jo sipfus,

    schöne Grüße aus Östereich vom Wuhsinator und der Pistenraupe.
    Das Du Deine Leser nun aber mit Deinem dickem Arsch erschreckst… puh, das will wirklich niemand sehen, hör auf Deinen kleinen Bruder.

    Wir hoffen, Du hattest eine gute Zeit, und alles Gute für das Neue Jahr 2008.
    Am Dienstag gehts wieder zurück.


  • Christoph

    Réka: Dank dir liebe Cousine! 🙂
    Rubi: Warum die Aufregung? Bisschen Schinken vor Silvester!
    wuhsi & Büh: Jungs macht euch n schönen Tag und n schönen Abend, nicht besoffen Ski fahren und bei der Abfahrt immer schön wie ein richtiger Gentleman, dann liegt euch die Damenwelt zu Füßen!


  • John

    hey chris, my thinking would be reason #3, but then you'd probably be red and burning all over. if it's just your butt, it could be something else. keep an eye on it, and take care of yourself.


  • Corinna

    Ich wünsche Dir ein frohes, neues, ereignisreiches Jahr mit warmen Tagen, Gesundheit und wenigen Stolpersteinen auf Deiner Reise!!



  • Christoph

    John: That's exactly what I was thinking too. Could it possibly be because of the cold though?
    Corinna: Euch auch ein frohes neues Jahr!


  • sharon see

    Uh…I think it's the detergent. I hand washed my clothes while living in Shanghai. And one time, I wore these pants which I just washed and my thigh had a weird burning sensation. I forget which brand I used, but it's my favorite smelling detergent. I wanted to bring it back to the Philippines.

    heeheehee. At first, I thought you took a picture of a baby's behind. LOL


  • Christoph

    Hahaha, I'll take that as a compliment??


  • Ida

    The part of the nice people who helped you is kind of touching. I never thought that my people, in this country, in this hard time can still be helpful to some strange passengers…


  • Josie Ella

    Nice butt ?



    omg, I am from Jiexiu, Shanxi Province, I couldn’t believe that you were in my hometown back to 2007. I am living in Canada right now.


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