I arrived in Fuzhou last night after sitting around the airport in Taizhou for nearly 4 hours with Kim. We made good use of the time by pushing eachother around on baggage carts; we actually were able to develop somewhat of a sport of it involving unwilling participants with the time that we had. They had a new car on display (a Geely) in the middle of the airport which we each put our stickers on. He has one with his grafitti and I have one for whoring myself as a DJ in China. It’s really just a cool photo I took with a tiny web address on it, though.
The flight wasn’t too long, but this doesn’t matter because they had a magazine on the flight that was PRINTED IN ENGLISH. IT WAS IN ENGLISH. IT DIDN’T HAVE ANY CHINESE IN IT. WE WERE ABLE TO READ THE ENTIRE THING. ENGLISH.
It was really great, though. It was a travel magazine, the name of which I can’t recall at the moment, but it was about travel in China and southeast Asia. I nearly read the entire thing cover to cover. It included a great article on an elephant reserve in Pai, Thailand which is open to visitors. Essentially you pay $250 for a week there (which is really kind of a lot of money for people who live on this side of the planet) and you spend the entire time living with and tending after these elephants. You live in some kind of hut or something on this reserve and you take care of and hang out with elephants all day. It’s an ethical place which allows them to live in their natural habitat where they spend half the day just roaming around, and you can roam around with them, ride on them, read, or whatever. The article says that they’re really individual and have different personalities, but they all seem to love attention and human affection. Pretty goddamn interesting, if I say so.
Also, that reminds me of an exercise that I’m going to attempt. I really have a terrible habit of cursing which I’m going to try to completely eliminate. I’ve been going through selected portions of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying again, for the second time, and I’m reminded of the Five Precepts of Buddhism; one of which advises not cursing or really speaking poorly about anything. I think it will be difficult for me, but that’s what I’m attracted to about it.
When the plane arrived in Fuzhou last night we went to the baggage claim to get our bags with the other occupants of the flight. When my bag came out of the mysterious baggage-hole I picked it up and thought it was a good idea to stand on the baggage belt and just stand there with my bag as it carried me around. About 100 peopl e or so were staring at me; as if being six and a half feet tall wasn’t enough to attract attention. One old guy really staged a silent protest by nodding his head. The brief dialog went something like this:
GUY: *SHRUGGING, NODDING HEAD*
ME: “OH COME ON”
GUY: “NO, NO” *NODDING*
ME: “OH YES, YES. YOU LOVE IT, COME ON”
GUY: “OH NO NO” *VIOLENTLY NODDING NOW*
Whoever thought I hadn’t made a great decision at that point was laughing. In another move of total impulse, I tossed my bag to Kim and crouched as low as I could as the conveyer belt carried me through the MYSTERIOUS GATEWAY TO BAGGAGE-LAND. It wasn’t as mystical as I’d hoped; a huge mostly-empty room with a pair of guys unloading luggage off a big yellow cart and tossing it on the belt. Surprisingly, they hardly even noticed me.
The belt was moving really slowly, so after being exposed to them for 5 seconds without them seeing me, I crouched completely still somehow and adopted the theory that if I didn’t move they wouldn’t see me, like they were dinosaurs or something. After three seconds of this I adopted that theory and waved and enthusiastically said ni hao. They eagerly return HELLO! just as I’m passing under the gateway back to the other dimension of Fuzhou International Airport.
I’ve been using a lot of my free time to assemble an itinerary for myself after I’m done with the tour. I know that I’ll be with my family in Bali and Singapore in September, but I also plan to go to Emei Shan and Juizhaigo toward the end of September before it gets cold. I’m planning to go to Thailand and Vietnam for most of the winter to escape the cold, but I want to go to Haerbin in North China near Russia in January to witness the annual Ice Lantern Festival which lasts a week. I can also visit Russia as it’s virtually down the street from Haerbin. I anxiously await the delivery of a package which will have a pair of new Lonely Planet books for me; a Thai phrasebook and a guide to SE Asia for backpackers.
I’m listening to the Blade Runner soundtrack by Vangelis. It’s fully sublime.