green dots on photographs, taken from low earth orbit

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Luckily for my feet, I didn’t have much distance left to Shihezi, the next important destination on my long red line. My good friend Zhu Hui (poor dogs and lucky dogs) lives there, so today he rode his bike over here and brought his 12-year old Taekwondo student Zong Zheng 宗正 along:

Zong Zheng walked almost 20 km with me

They were going to accompany me to the city, and I was very happy to have them with me:

Zhu Hui and Zong Zheng

When there isn’t very much to see…

wall

..then life is much more fun if there are some other goofballs around!

I asked Zong Zheng to recite some Chinese poetry while the cars were rushing by:

walking

This was while Zhu Hui got into an epic picture-taking frenzy:

happy

Later I found out that Zong Zheng was not only good at reciting poetry, but had also very large arsenal of high-quality middle-school jokes:

walking with Zong Zheng

This way, we basically made it to Shihezi in a breeze:

with Zhu Hui

What a moment to finally be there!

I had been looking at this place on Google Earth so many times before… whenever I was sad or bored at home, or I just had this great feeling of need for the road under my feet, I would look at the satellite pictures and imagine what this place might be like….

So close to Ürümqi (Ürümqi), the place where I had stopped in October 2008, yet so unreachable from Munich, Germany, the place where I was trying to get my university diploma, this Shihezi felt like pure magic to me.

Well, now after so much time, I was finally here, and everything looked very green and nice:

street in Shihezi

I learned that this city is very young, being part of a project to allocate land to troops and turn them into regular citizens after the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949:

museum

Today, there are not many traces of soldiery left though, only the occasional statue:

statues

Anyway…

It felt so good to finally be here.



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