babies walk on roads inclined

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It’s not the shoes, it’s the road:

middle of the road

Looks like a nice strip of concrete, doesn’t it? Well, here’s the thing: it seems as though all roads in this part of the country are inclined towards both left and right. This is obviously some sort of intelligent design to help with the drainage of rain water – but it makes walking so painful after a while…

…the landscapes were nice anyways:

birch trees

Here’s something you don’t see every day where I’m from:


At least this vehicle doesn’t need any side-impact airbags anymore.

I sat down for a chat with some farmers:


They were getting ready to plant some kind of melon.

Another four or five moths, and there will be WATERMELONS everywhere, I am so excited!

I noticed another white line (cruelty lines):

white line

Only this time I didn’t have to ask what it meant.

When I sat down for another rest in front of a small store, I somehow attracted a small gathering of people around me.

At first, they would only pose their questions indirectly, as if asking one another, but loud enough for me to hear in case I wanted to answer…


“…is he from France?”


“…why is he carrying so much stuff?”


“…and where the hell is he going like that?”

Eventually, this old bearded guy sort of became the negotiator, accepting questions from the others and then redirecting them at me:

old dude with beard

We all had a good time, especially when I told him my age and he started laughing: “27 this year? But you’re just a little baby then!”

When I arrived at Baishui, I noticed that there was something different about the people:

mother with child

The Chinese Hui-minority – this is the first time since Xi’an (Muslims and water fountains) that I’ve come across a larger settlement of these interesting people:

head scarves

They told me to go visit the local mosque in the morning.

Apparently there is a church and a Buddhist temple as well.


Tonight I’m staying at a Muslim hotel, and I just had a large bowl of mutton soup.

Guaranteed halal.

  • Hermann

    Mutton? Ich aß: Bandnudeln, Gulasch, Tomaten-Mozarella-Salat, trank dazu zwei Gläser Rotwein aus Malta, den mein jüngster Sohn, der heute von dort zurückkehrte, mitgebracht hat.
    Bin jetzt im Februar deiner Aufzeichnungen. Irre, diese weiße Linie.
    Herzlichst Hermann


  • old man

    Hallo Christoph,

    a propos "Kommt er aus Frankreich?": Vielleicht werden deine Bauern in ein paar Monaten tatsächlich einem Franzosen begegnen. Dir kommt möglicherweise, d.h. wenn er die gleiche Route nimmt, ein 57jähriger Mann (Philippe Fuchs) entgegen. Allerdings wird er kaum Zeit für ein Gespräch am Straßenrand haben (falls er überhaupt Chinesisch kann), denn er ist joggend unterwegs, macht durchschnittlich 80 km am Tag, führt sein Hotel mit sich in Form eines Wohnmobils, das ihm vorausfährt, und wird von einem Begleiter auf einem Fahrrad unterwegs gefüttert und getränkt. Er ist total verkabelt, damit ein Sportausstatter neue Erkenntnisse gewinnt. Zur Olympiade will er in Beijing sein.
    So kann man auch zu Fuß unterwegs sein – allerdings liegt mir deine Reise viel mehr am Herzen..
    Danke für die wirklich gut geschriebenen und illustrierten Tagesberichte!


  • Alfredo

    I was fascinated by the picture of the farmhouse you posted today (the white line one). The front building with the peeling white plaster is a nice traditional courtyard. I love the weathered look of the tiles, the door, and the walls.

    Like so many other places in China today, more recent ugliness is encroaching (the electrical tower in the back, and the more modern building in the back right of the picture).
    Of course, it is hard to say that the Chinese people do not have a right to build more modern (and hopefully comfortable) quarters for themselves. It is just that everytime something beautiful is defaced it makes all of humankind a little bit poorer – not just the owner of the thing defaced, but you and me too.

    Which again does not mean they should not do it; it is just one more facet of decisions people make, and one that looks much different in the long term versus the short term. What I mean by this is that if today you are living in a cramped house with little sanitation, and you just barely can afford to build an extension, it is hard to postpone it for aesthetic reasons. 50 years from now, when China will be a lot wealthier (and the stock of ancient architecture will be much smaller, witness what is going on with Beijing hutong).

    You seem to have a very even attitude to these aspects of contemporary China, though – which is great. I wonder if you have ever had an opportunity to discuss this with the people you have met?


  • Christoph

    Hermann: Gulasch hätte ich auch gerne…
    old man: Oha, ich bin ja echt mal ne Schildkröte gegen den Mann!
    Alfredo: You are definitely right, this is something very noticeable. The few times when I've brought this up with people I've met on the street, I felt that there was a very limited understanding for this kind of cultural preservation. On one hand it seems as though preservationism is a luxury choice, on the other hand there is definitely a lack of cultural education over here. – The thing that hurts the most is to see rich folks who think that luxury can (by definition) only be a Western-styled thing.


  • Maggie

    Reading Alfredo and Chris' comments, I don't know what to say, just feel so sad sometimes. China is kind of lost during the process of modernization . So do the people…


  • Achille

    Hey,maggie.don't be sad! Foreign friends tend to criticize us just like we usually do the same.

    I admit that we are in the process of modernization,and somehow ingore the protection of historical relics and something beautiful,but the thing is China is too big to be operated smoothly:like a big corporation. Just like every coin have 2 sides, we can't only look the bright sight of our civilizatioin,but should also look to the dark side of our society:)

    Anyway, welcome critiques from foreign friends.I suppose it works much better than ourselves.


  • Hermann

    Schade dass ich hier kein Foto posten kann, ich hätte da eine Collage mit der Hui Dame plus rauchendem Kaninchen.


  • Hermann

    vielleicht, wenn ich's auf meinen Server lege. Kleiner verspäteter Ost-Spaß:


  • Christoph

    Maggie: you know what, Maggie, I have very much hope for the kids! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Achille: keeping an open mind seems to be the key.
    Hermann: Danke, und die youtube-videos sind super!


  • Josie Ella

    The guy in the glasses. Freaking amazing.


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