master of the wind

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Today was going to be my last walking day this summer:

So, with our new identification papers in our pockets, we waltzed out of town. On our way to the border.

We Passed architectural wonders:

motorcycle

…flowers…

blue flowers

…and a dude who said: “Take a picture of me!”

take a picture of me

One time there was this weird theme park:

theme park

“Folklore park of the prairie night 草原之夜风情园” – or something like that.

We looked through the gate:

green fields

And decided to pass on this one.

The road seemed like a much better place to us:

road

These guys stopped to give us some melons:

These guys stopped to give us a melon

Then they turned on some music and just sat there:

A little while later this family showed up to take a picture with us:

This family took one of the best group photos ever with us

(Note the dude on the left, thumbs up for the thumbs up! And what about the English flip-off on the right?)

Eventually, after a few hours next to the highway, we reached the border town of Khorgas:

Khorgas

There were shiny buildings everywhere, mostly shopping malls and trade centers:

market

And then, after one last left turn of the road, there it was:

road to the border

The border.

Kazakhstan.

The country compared to which all other countries are inferior in potassium.

I was overwhelmed.

We entered a visiting area right next to the border checkpoint.

There was an old border stone:

stele

A basketball court:

basketball hoop

(Though there was no way to find a ball.)

And then, finally, the LAST road marker of G312, the road that I had been following ever since Xi’an:

border guards

Trucks were constantly passing through the checkpoint:

After our repeated run-ins with the police, we didn’t dare go near the guys in camouflage. Instead, we took pictures in front of them:

Dario at the border

And more pictures:

Chris at the border

And more pictures:

handshake

Eventually a camera team appeared out of nowhere and started asking questions:

interview

They had no idea who I was, and I didn’t know who they were either.

It turned out to be a very relaxed interview.

And then one of the soldiers came down to take a picture with us:

This friendly soldier at the border checkpoint of Korghas took a photo with us

He was from Lianyungang 连云港, which happens to be the other ending point of this G312 highway, somewhere close to Shanghai, precisely 4818 kilometers from here.

We took another picture with his buddy:

guarding the border

Then we bounced around:

Dario border jump

Until that got old, too:

Chris border jump

Back on the road, some dudes were having fun with the Caboose:

These uncles danced with the Caboose and me right in front of the border to Kazakhstan

I decided it was time for one last dance to celebrate the arrival at the border:

And even though it was not exactly Gangnam Style, the dudes we kind enough to dance along. 🙂

The brother of a friend of a friend of a friend was going to store the Caboose for me.

So we loaded her onto a truck:

hauling away the Caboose

And then we rode back to Qingshuihe, the place where we had started out this morning:

truck ride

The car ride was surreal.

Everything had happened so fast.

The last day of walking. The border. The jumping around. The dancing. The Caboose on the truck.

And now we were racing past the exact same road that we had walked down today:

Thirty minutes later, we met up with Mr. Ma 马先生, who was going to store the Caboose.

He told me not to worry. He had a factory with plenty of storage room.

His son was there too:

storing the Caboose

It was time I said good-bye to the Caboose.

My good Caboose.

And this time, I did not cry.



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