a natural fool

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We broke camp and started our last walking day together:

morning with Teacher Xie

…another day through the extensive Long 陇, the province of Gansu Gansu):

Long

We rested in the shade of a gas station along the way, and both of us fell asleep while the dude who was working there kept a watching eye over us:

dude

Then we were out in the heat again:

desert flower

Pretty little flowers usually don’t grow well in the desert, but huge ones made of steel do:

shadow

Obviously, this place with its massive winds is perfect for wind-farming:

wind turbine

…then, right there in that massive nothingness of the Gobi desert, I got attacked by bees again!

AGAIN?? OUT HERE??

Poor me: last time I had gotten two stings on my head (phobia), today I was going to get another one on my head and one under my left eye.

WTF??? How could this have happened out here?

Here’s the low down:

We’re on a long stretch of straight hot road, there’s desert to the right and more desert to the left. Teacher Xie is walking in front of me. Then suddenly there’s a honking sound behind us and a car passes by. I notice it’s not a car but a large truck actually, and then I see that it’s in fact an open truck filled up to the rim with beehives. One beehive = 10.000 bees. 100 beehives = the air filled with bees.

The bees are furious. How are they supposed to understand what’s going on with their moving hives? The only thing they understand is that their hives are in danger. So they are mad, and they are buzzing around, looking for someone to punish.

Now that would be me.

As soon as I realize what’s happening, I already have a bee stinging me in my face and another one crawling through my hair. There’s a massive buzzing sound all around me.

I can’t stand it: “Teacher Xie! Teacher Xie! I’m scared!! 谢老师!谢老师!我害怕!!” I scream, then I drop my Caboose right there and hightail it, sprinting off into the desert, waving my arms around my head, clearing my hair from the bees and running like I’ve never run before.

Teacher Xie was having a good time. He just stood there in the middle of all those bees, looking at my foolish behavior and laughing his old head off: “Chris, don’t be afraid, it’s nothing! Just come back here! 雷克,你别怕呀,没事!你回来吧!”

Yeah right. No way.

It took me a half hour – Teacher Xie had gotten out a book and was reading it in his cart – until I was able to go back and continue walking. Sometimes there would be the occasional bee, or just a buzzing sound somewhere behind my ear. Then I would drop everything and run, but I would always come back after a couple of seconds.

I could feel my cheek swelling up, and there was a certain feeling of devastation and embarrassment.

The bees eventually all left, and we made it to a place that was nice:

flowers

So many beautiful flowers:

red flowers

This is where the bees must have been moved to, I thought:

more flowers

Man’s ways are often mysterious, but nature’s ways are too.

Why do bees have a sting? And why do they die when they use it?

trees

We passed by a water reservoir that lay there under the moon, just oozing with cool serenity:

lake

And then we finally made it into town:

Yumen

It was 11pm when I was about to reach my hotel and say good night to my Teacher Xie.

He had something to tell me though before we both called it a night: “Chris! How foolish you are! …but it’s really very cute to see a big man like you being so afraid of little bees! It’s a natural sort of cuteness! I like it a lot! 雷克!你真傻哈!…不过像你个子那么大的男人那么害怕小小的蜜蜂,那确实挺可爱的!这是一种本身的可爱!我很喜欢!”

Words from a teacher to a foolish apprentice.



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