final flowers

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I spent today mainly walking uphill:

Shanxi mountain road

Luckily, temperatures seemed on the rise again, and at times I could take off my gloves for a few minutes.

Really most of the day kind of looked like this:

in the highlands of Shanxi

But initially leaving the city proved to be a bit of a hassle, since I was having a hard time navigating through a vast area of heavy industry.

Anyways I got rewarded with this beautiful flower I found growing out of the concrete somewhere:

lights in Jiexiu

Bizarre and pretty at the same time.

Then I found something just a tad more bizarre a bit later up in the hills:

Eiffeltower

La Tour Eiffel.

Much nicer to photograph than the original tower in Europe, because the birds just look so much larger next to this one!

I walked a little further, then spent a long time in a little restaurant on the roadside.

The place was run by some very friendly kids who offered me this:

This friendly dude gave me puffed corn sticks

It’s called baomibang 爆米棒 and it’s basically a sort of popcorn stick.

They told me the production process somehow magically involved a garbage truck.

I didn’t understand this mysterious recipe, and maybe I didn’t want to understand anyway.

It was really quite tasty though, I have to admit.

Then, more flowers:

wreath

This is a piece of paper artwork used in funeral ceremonies. I don’t really know that much about burial traditions, so I can only guess at why the inside looks all burned, but I think that this might have to do with the ritual of burning of money for the deceased. (see December 23rd)

Luckily, there are many other happy customs as well, like for instance people getting married:

dragon thing

This decoration is for a big wedding party tomorrow. It really looks like the whole village is invited.

Little Zhang Yanbo 张砚波, even though he might be going, doesn’t know about these things yet though:

Zhang Yanbo sees his first foreigner

He’s only one and a half years old.

His dad stopped to show him his first foreigner ever.

I hope I was able to make a halfway honorable impression on the kid, dirty and exhausted as I was.

Tomorrow I’m going to take it easy and chew on chocolate candy bars and cure my butt.

Besides that, there is a lot of nice stuff to look at around here.

PS: I just realized these first couple of minutes in the year 2008 found me busy washing my dirty socks.

A good omen?



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