Of course I didn’t get a good night’s sleep tonight either. The reason: there was a mouse in my room.
Mighty mouse, maker of noise, master of the plastic wrapping! – how the hell can an animal this small produce that much SOUND?
At first, it seemed to be after my cookies – I woke up because there it was on the table next to my bed, the tiny little monster, munching on what was rightfully mine, meanwhile creating one heck of an ambient noise. So I made myself get up and throw all the stuff out, hoping that the sounds were to stop. And for a few minutes, they did.
Then the thing somehow managed to retrieve a little piece of plastic wrapping! I was like WTF?? Did I miss something here? I could have sworn I had thrown everything out that had any kind of food flavor to it, but there it was, the mouse, sitting in a hole in the wall under the other bed, playing with its plastic wrapping, mastering its preciousssss… while making so much noise… it was just terrible.
Anyways the road was okay the next day:
I said good-bye to Mr. Niu, and then I was getting ready to cross into the most western territory of China, Xinjiang:
The scenery was spectacular:
And the Caboose was doing a good job – always quietly rolling along behind me:
Please take a guess as to what the following picture represents:
It’s two trucks cutting right through the desert.
I’ve been told some of these coal trucks are heavily overloaded and can’t travel on the regular highway. There are parts of G312 that are limited to only 20 tons, while some of those trucks are supposed to carry 100+ tons. I don’t know anything about tons or trucks, but it seems like a lot of weight. Now what the truck drivers do is they just crawl right through the desert, traveling on some kind of mysterious dirt track that can’t be seen from the road. It sounds crazy to me. What if the engine fails? What about the climate? There have been reports of people freezing to death out here on the highway every winter.
Maybe I worry too much?
There are graffiti on the rocks next to the road up here, they are everywhere:
Most of them are only notations of names, dates, and plate numbers, while others seem to appeal to the more sensual side of life:
“I long for you, woman 我恋你女人” (note the drawing for additional precision).
When I arrived in Xingxingxia, I was so happy:
It’s not much really: maybe 30 buildings, a few restaurants, a guesthouse and a police station. Lots of trucks and an almost equally high number of truck repair shops.
But hey, for me this meant a bed, some hot food, a battery charge and a day off tomorrow.
Xingxingxia means “star gorge” – a beautiful name supposedly derived from ancient times, when travelers would rest up here in the mountains and look around: one of the mountain peaks would shine like a little star.
I couldn’t make out which one though, but I did make out some old fortifications on both sides of the gorge:
Very interesting place.
I wish I had a way to spray my own name on the rocks somewhere.
“Christoph Rehage, 2008-9-15”