questions unasked will remain questions unanswered

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The backyard of the pharmacy I stayed at last night:

house in Gansu

They had two roosters there that started crowing their hearts out at dawn.

This kind of made for an early start in the day, but that was okay; I had a lot of walking in front of me anyways.

You know I’m navigating by GPS and electronic mapping, just because I am too dumb to read maps and too lazy to carry them around.

Anyway I got a bit confused about this today:


Two roads; a gravel track to the left and a nice highway to the right:


Which one to choose?

According to the maps they would eventually both end up in the same place, but what about their condition? What about food and drink on the way? Maybe one of them was effectively longer than the other?

I had asked a bunch of people on the road before, and the only thing they had come up with was a split decision.

So I opted for the concrete highway, and that’s where I ran into this dude:

walking dude

Please take only one look and tell me what you think right away!

Well here’s what I thought: homeless drifter, as seen before (the grudge, a breeze of anguish, the knots).

And solely because he was the only person I had seen walking on this road, I snapped a picture.

Then I smiled overly friendly (you never know with those hobos, might be a maniac or something, better calm him down), and asked how far it was to the next settlement.

“Not far, maybe 10km” he replied in excellent standard Chinese. No dialect. No Weirdness. Just a polite response out of pure courteous manner.

I walked on for a while, then it suddenly struck me, and I looked at the picture again: clean clothes, clean face, clean hands, clean hair…

This guy wasn’t a hobo – WTF, I must have been dirtier than him!

Where was he going, where did he come from? Why was he walking? – Now I would never know, and it was all due to my own ignorance.

-The first question unasked.-

I left the road at some point, climbed over a fence and started looking for a place to lay down and take a rest:


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There I was, alone in the sunlight, with the white buds and the pink buds and the little bees humming around the buds…

peach blossoms

I gotta admit: being alive felt so good out there I stripped down and got buck-nacked – trying to get a suntan.

When I got up and put my clothes back on again, I decided to go and take a closer look at these caves:


One of them had something written on the wall:


“Heaven has four treasures: sun, moon, stars, and the constellations. 天有四宝日月星辰

The country has four treasures: loyalty, honesty, goodness, and the generals. 国有四宝忠诚良将

Earth has four treasures: …地有四宝。。。

The family has four treasures: … 家有四宝。。。”

I couldn’t make out the rest, and I don’t even know if I got the parts right that I was able to decipher.

This is not one of the questions unasked though – I can still put it out here and leave it for someone else to answer.

So anyways I got back on the winding road and took one last look at all that beautiful rosé:


Did I tell you that we’ve been on a serpentine road for about 10km today?

No overtaking whatsoever allowed over the whole distance:


But people here couldn’t care less; WRRROOOOM they go, honking their horns, trying to make the whole world get the hell out of their way, because they’re not even thinking of slowing down.

The most obnoxious ones seemed to have a technique of permanent alarm – they would just rush by in a constant honking sound.

This was such a perma-honker:


Well, they got what they deserved, thought I and started happily snapping away, while the two dudes were shouting and waving their arms trying to make me stop.

Too bad you don’t have a horn to honk anymore now, do you? I didn’t have to say it. They knew I was laughing at them.

Best get out of there before anyone got mad.

Again, as I went back to walking, I also went to thinking: What if this wasn’t really reckless driving, what if their brakes just failed? That would have explained the constant honking, too!

-The second question unasked.-

This time it had been my own self-righteousness that had kept me from asking.

The last bit of road was a gentle breeze, with the road slowly flattening in front of the mountain terraces in the distance:


Right before I got to where I was heading, I noticed something:


I really don’t know what this was all about; was it really a dude giving his girlfriend a ride in the earthmover? Or were they both just working there? If they were working, why was the girl dressed up so nicely? On the other hand, she seemed to have working gloves on…

-The third question unasked.-

This time, the reason why I didn’t ask was because I wanted to keep my illusion.

I didn’t want them to be working.

I wanted them to be in love.

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