cruelty lines

Posted on

Google Maps

By loading the map, you agree to Google's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load map

I just lay there on my bed, thinking and thinking: should I stay or should I go?

My cold was still there.

Eventually I got up and packed up, strapped my shoes on, put on my bags, opened the door and walked out into the wide open.

It was there that I found the mysterious white line:

white line

I followed it for a while, then I couldn’t stand it any longer and asked what this thing was about.

Answer: The original road was too narrow, the line was there to mark the boundaries of the new highway.

house in Shanxi

I wondered how many buildings would have to go?

Sometimes the line would brutally cut right through the homes of people:


It seemed as if everybody was ready to accept the demands of progress, though.

Try to imagine something like this happening in Germany or France: people over there go completely mental over much smaller things than this.

I don’t know whether they already started demolition or not, anyways, this seemed kind of weird:


A comma.

Never alone, there’s always something before it and after it.

Further down the road I ran into a guy who told me to take a left off the highway and I would find an ancient drum tower.

So I did:

rural house in Shanxi

After a mile or so, upon entering this peaceful village, I ran into a family who invited me to their home for a cup of tea:

courtyard in Shanxi

They were originally from a tiny settlement up in the mountains, but had moved down here to provide for a better education for their 5-year-old daughter:

This friendly family invited me to tea

I stayed for a long time hearing about some of the things that lay ahead on my walk, then a bunch of friends showed up and we decided to go to the drum tower together:


I love the expressions on these faces, especially the dudes in the front.


Another interesting impression I picked up on the way:

mask of the monkey king

This little guy was playing around in a storefront when I asked him to pose with this mask. He didn’t say anything, just stood there looking at me like he was really scared. Then he put on his mask and remained motionless – posing for my picture.

Thank you, little guy.

I like things that connect – with the white line on the street in the back of my head, I really wanted to get this line in the sunset on a nice picture:

nightfall over Huozhou

So I would be able to say: you see – two lines, one on the street, one in the sky! Isn’t it thoughtful?

…not realizing that I had been standing on another, much more real line all the while:

poor person in Huozhou

This is apparently where the hotels, stores, and restaurants across the street dump their garbage. The black dot on the right is a person lighting a small fire to fight off the cold.

I saw him or her drinking from the river and going through the garbage looking for food, then I couldn’t stand it anymore and tried saying hello.

No response.

It felt terribly cruel being there in this position, a good 5 meters above this poor soul, and taking out a banknote, waving it at him or her, then letting it fall down next to the garbage.

No response.

I told the person to take this and go get something to eat.

A nod.

Somewhat relieved, I left.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *