I woke up to a good sky:
Some clouds with a bit of sun, not too warm yet, but not too cold either. The mountains were still there in the distance:
There was no road except the freeway to walk on:
When it got hot around noon, I found an underpass and climbed down under there. Just like most underpasses around here, it was sprinkled with turds, but I managed to find a spot that seemed clean. I stretched out, folded my arms behind my head and looked at the heat that was scorching the land:
When I came back out after a few hours, I saw heavy rains fall on the mountains:
It was weird looking at the rain like that from a distance. Burned by the sun as I was, I felt almost jealous.
There is a problem now that I am walking with a map instead of a GPS. It is hard for me to tell the distance to the next village or resting point. So I basically have to rely on wild guessing and the help of people I run into.
These guys gave me a high-visibility vest so I would be safer at night:
And they told me that the next settlement Tuotuo was about 20km away. At this point, I had already walked close to 30km, so I continued walking.
I stopped at 31,8km. This place marked the spot where I completed 5000km. I took a picture:
And then I did what I always do.
At first I didn’t know if I had the right to.
After all, I really hadn’t walked all of it in one go, had I?
But then I thought: Fuck it, I’m the boss, and I feel like dancing:
So I did. (If you are thinking of Mario Balotelli’s fight with the vest, it’s just a coincidence).
And there is another problem with walking on the freeway:
You can’t get leave it wherever you want. You need an exit for that.
So once I realized that Tuotuo was in fact not 20km but more than 30km away, I could do nothing but continue walking, until there would be an exit somewhere.
Of course there wasn’t.
I walked until sunset:
And then I walked some more:
I walked 50km. Then I walked 5 more. Then 1 more. Then 1 more. And 1 more. Only once before had I walked this much in one day.
But there was nothing I could to but continue to walk until there was only darkness around me.
My feet felt like lava.
I was just about to pass the 60km mark when I saw some lights in the distance. It was a small shop, people were sitting in front of it staring at a TV:
They must be watching the Olympic Games, I thought, but then I realized that it was some TV series about a Chinese emperor and his court. The people at the shop were Han Chinese and Uyghurs, and when I approached and bought two chilled bottles of water only to hold them up against my forehead and crumple on a chair, they looked at me and laughed heartily.
I sat for a while and stared at the TV with them. Then I walked some more, until I found a hotel.
The room was okay. I took a shower, then I examined my feet, punctured most of my blisters and applied some iodine disinfectant.
Then I stretched out on the bed.
And here was something new: I was so tired that I couldn’t sleep.