visiting the fat lady

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You see the blue stream on the map? That’s the famous Yellow River.

I am so close to it, but alas! I can’t see it just yet, because it has pulled back too far into its bed:

country road

The road I was walking on today looked the same for hours and hours:

next to the Yellow River

No people, no cars – and no Yellow River.

I had a little meal of beef jerky, cookies, and some lemonade.

And a chocolate candy bar.

Then I continued walking, always keeping an eye open for the river:

straight road

At some point the road ended, and after several hours of nothing but the sound of the gravel under my boots, I finally ran into some dudes who were busy fetching firewood:

work

They told me that the river was nearer than I thought, in fact I would walk right into it if I chose to continue south.

So I decided to alter my course to the east a bit, and soon enough I arrived at this little body of water stretching from north to south:

small river

And no way across.

What would you do?

I walked south and prayed for a bridge, and thank God there was one:

bridge

Now where’s the fat lady in all of this?

That’s what I asked these old fellahs when I got to a village:

old folks

“Where’s Yang Guifei? 杨贵妃在哪里?”

Yang Guifei is of course the name of the fat lady I’m talking about.

The old guys told me how to get to her home. She has a memorial temple dedicated to herself there:

temple dedicated to Yang Guifei

Now who is this Yang Guifei?

Answer: she was an imperial concubine during the Tang-dynasty, and she was said to be of such stunning beauty that she even ranked among the legendary Four Ancient Beauties, an elite selection of the top 4 best-looking women in more than 3000 years of Chinese history:

Yang Guifei statue

Now if she’s really so hot, why call her a fat lady then?

Well, let me put it this way: Tang-dynasty China apparently didn’t have much appreciation for skinny girls. Instead, the imperial bedrooms must have looked like an Asian version of Peter Paul Rubens’ “The Three Graces”, only that there were A LOT more than only three fat ladies around…

Pondering over the right distribution of adipose tissue in the female physique, I got on my way south again:

couple from above

Of course I didn’t make it before nightfall:

factory

…and I got slower and colder the more pictures I decided to take on the way:

nightly village

There are some things, though, no matter how tired you are, but they can still make somebody stop, aim for an angle, take out the tripod, fix the camera, take a test shot for exposure settings and then keep shooting and adjusting until the fingers get numb:

Dampf und Licht

Okay, sounds a bit more miserable than it actually was…

When I got to the hotel and found out that my shower didn’t work, I got very angry.

But only for a second, because then I thought:

bathroom

Why not take a bath?



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