“You’ve never actually been to a place until you’ve walked there.”
“It is only these two feet that can really open up spaces.”
“Walking leads to exploration; and exploration leads to knowledge.”
“Nobody understands anything and everyone is foolish but me!”
“I am deep.”
You know I’m going to say these things once I get home, don’t you?
That’s right! I’m full of myself.
So what’s there to do about that?
I put on my white shirt and my blue slippers and wandered around in Pingliang today.
Then I got to thinking: Have I really been to this place before? It looks and feels so different! Maybe I’m just judging by the cover here?
There was the Bao Pagoda 宝塔:
How come I had never been there before?
I stopped for a little talk to a random guy on the street:
He kept on saying the same thing: “I can understand his words, I can understand his words!”
I didn’t think we really understood each other, though later I figured out why he was so surprised – and it seemed only logical:
Assumption: foreigner = foreign language
Observation: I + foreigner = communication
Conclusion: I can understand foreignese!
I kept bumping into this other dude just about everywhere:
The first time, he had offered to give me a ride when I was on the way into Pingliang a few days before.
Then later, I went grocery shopping at the store his family operates.
Today I bumped into him for the third time and hopped on his ride.
We figured it was destiny.
Since the city felt so different, I asked him to drop me off at the only place that I could remember from its location:
The area around the bridge by the train station.
Above is a picture from August 2006.
And here’s what I shot today:
Different angle – different city – different cover – different me.
Then I wandered around looking for this:
“why can’t people in love just be together? 为什么相爱的人不能在一起?” (2006)
Someone had formed these words using large rocks in the riverbed two years ago.
I felt touched by this message, because it seemed so fragile and lost in an environment as harsh as this.
So I went looking for it, and I was in for a surprise:
The river had changed a bit, and the original message had of course vanished.
But there seemed to be some new words:
I couldn’t make out the rest.
So back into the unknown city it was, a place on earth that I had been to before and yet didn’t really know it.
It seemed as though – walking or not – I was only looking at another cover.
It’s like: visit a place when it’s raining, then go again on a hot summer day.
Totally different, duh!
There’s these private cabs circling the streets of Pingliang:
The finger indicates the fare (in this case 1 RMB) – that is, if you’re going in the same direction as the other passengers in the car.
I took one to a market in order to look for some movies:
That’s where I found these:
You can guess what this is – and there’s two discs in each sleeve.
I mean WTF, who in the world would want to watch 5 hours of lions and tigers and a whole lot of other animals doing it?
I chose not to and rather bought something else, and now here I am telling you about stuff that I don’t even know.
Can’t judge a book by its cover.
Or a movie, in this case.