Saturday, February 25, 2006

26 February 2006 The Daily Dosage

Lost in Xinjiang!

Lost in X., Y. and Z.,
The we of three!
In the Divine,
The decaying melon rind!
Following the song,
Singing along!

You too can lose
The walls that confine you,
The small box
You think protects,
Erects
Around you!

Found in re-
Pentence,
The sentence,
To live free!

No wife!
No children!
No house!
No louse!
No job!
Nothing to rob,
But, myself!

Lost in Xinjiang!

Great quote from one of my favorite English literary people, Oscar Wilde:

‘Experience is one thing you can’t get for free!’

And thus…

‘Through bog, through bush,
Through brake, through brier,
Sometimes a horse I’ll be,
Sometimes a hound,
A hog, a headless bear!

Sometimes a fire,
To neigh and bark,
And grunt, and roar and burn,
Like horse, hound, hog, bear, fire,
At every turn!’

I am the Dragon!
¡˙

24 February 2006 The Daily Dosage

Outside my window, this early morning, the last of the moon and Venus, together in the southwest. I’m going to acquire a tripod, and learn how to take longer-exposure images, so I can ‘capture’ such. It would have been a lovely photograph to share, as this A.M. a clear sky.

It’s been winter in Kashgaria, the last week or so—overcast and cool (I can’t call it cold!). Although technically, it still is winter on the ‘downside,’ staying lighter later at night. In less than one month the Vernal Equinox, or when day and night, in terms of light, are perfectly balanced!

The wonderful cycle of Nature, it only you’ll take time (from modernity) to notice. Man, so estranged from his ‘mother,’ if you ever wonder why so much cancer, etc. So, much ‘trouble!’ Man, so arrogant! But, woe be unto us, I will tell you that if we don’t stop, as ‘Mother,’ is a million, billion, trillion times more powerful than the largest hydrogen bomb man ever conceived! She rules, ultimately!

Always moving, moving, moving, changing, changing, changing, in Duality! Cycles… Always seeking its ‘opposite!’ Enantiodromia! ‘Yin-Yang,’ balance, harmony… The Taoists knew, ancient people understood. In modernity we have lost the ability relying insanely on manmade technology!

What’s coming…? An event with an Asteroid, sweeping part of the earth off in seconds! Talk about making the Six O’clock News, what a story, if any TV capacity left afterwards! This will devastate the remainder living, and pull humanity together finally—as if we didn’t, none would survive as we will be plunged back into the ‘Dark Ages,’ for a time (a hundred years or so). And will change things for the better actually, wiping out roughly two billion people, plus destroying the basic infrastructure for the remainder. So, be prepared if such is possible—mentally prepared (the strong will survive)!

And where is it going to ‘swipe?’ I don’t know, if I did, I’d have many people moving (if they could). And when is this going to happen? Again, I don’t know! Just a matter of time!

It’s also possible that is Asteroid doesn’t ‘swipe,’ off part of the earth, but reverse the poles… Less devastating? In terms of life yes, in terms of chaos no! Think about what this would mean… Basically north is now south, and vice versa! It would completely confuse all electro-magnetic (radio) transmission. An airplane aloft during this would be completely lost, only knowing where the ground is… Hope you’re not in a commercial airliner when this occurs!

But, returning to the mundane… Some interesting things in Kashigar as always.

Hu and I are planning my, Rotraut, and Tom’s trip to the Taklimakan Desert. This the month of April. She arrives from Germany on April 1st. Then, after some time in Uremqi, we will all take the train to Kashigar. Then after some more time, we will head east to Hotan, taking the old southern route of the Silk Road. At Mifeng, we will take the highway north, and directly through the desert, some 600KM of ‘nothing!’ This is the part I’m personally interested in, as there will be fewer people (hopefully)!

At English Corner last Wednesday evening, this at the Kashigar Teacher’s College, we got into a discussion of over-population!

People in China, Uyghur people in particular, they just can’t fathom changing, having fewer (or no) children! And I found out something… The Han Chinese couples only allowed to have one child. But, minorities, the ones that should have fewer, are allowed three! Here is an example of the complete stupidity of man, and why there’s ‘no hope!’ The minorities, rural and the poorest, can’t feed the children they already have! Thus, they’re allowed to have more that they can feed, or educate. Now, what sense does this make? None, of course, as man makes no sense—why humanity will ultimately fail! Our ‘greatest success,’ proliferation, will be what causes our downfall as a species! We will go the way of the dinosaurs!

But, always for you to consider, the great question… When the last homo sapien has succumbed, will we have been here at all?

Fayzullah and Ali came with me (well he got there later), to ‘English Corner.’ Ali seems to have trouble finding me and other things in Kashigar, even though he’s lived here for one year. Such is the nature of those who don’t get out and about, read maps, and understand the ‘lay of the land’ (terrain). He showed up finally, but after the taxi driver had taken him to the wrong school! I found this humorous!

But, then something fortuitous, as it turns out, he knows the pretty little Uyghur girl (Maira), I noticed a week ago. I’ve told him since to ask her if she’s interested in a career in show biz, as this girl has the looks and the personality to succeed. She might be our first client in Xinjiang. The first client for www.mmt.com/Kashigar

‘English Corner’ is always interesting, as you never know what’s going to happen. The students come as they’re curious, and most times the questions are thought provoking. I’m asked often, how I like China, Xinjiang, and Uyghur culture? I encourage them when they’re shy, especially the girls.

Uyghur/Moslem have been oppressed, no doubt!

Nurmamat showed up with a mustache. Ah, the teenage boys experimenting. I hadn’t seen him since returning so we had a good conversation. He’s still studying Chinese. But, when I asked about the girlfriend, he didn’t really answer (too private probably).

Xhao Xu showed up too, and with Payzullah we had a lively time! Elaine, a thoughtful Chinese girl, actually she’s more a young woman than a ‘girl,’ showed up. So, it in some ways was like a reunion or ‘restart,’ as Jason and the anglo woman were there. It’s interesting the anglo people (‘teachers’) never say ‘hello,’ basically unfriendly (uptight) about something.

Jason, working for the Silk Road Trading Company, a front for Christian Missionaries, I know and like. He’s a cool young guy from Michigan, about to return in May. The other American, a woman typical evangelical Christian: I can tell as how they look and how they dress. This woman never says ‘boo’ to me! They must know! It must be written all over my body! I must have 666 written all over me!

They must know… I’m going to join the Communist Party!

About 1900 hours I’d had it, standing and talking, so Ali and I too a taxi back to the hotel. I was going to go to Indy’s but didn’t feel like it. ‘I’m dancing as fast as I can!’

Next day…? Oh, the days just ‘tick’ by! Think of the ‘endless’ days of your life, each a ‘tick’ of the ‘second hand,’ on the clock of life! Life ‘ticks’ away, the cycle of rising/setting sun, awakening, activity, returning to darkness, all in just ‘one second’ the ‘tick!’ The clock seems to have sped up for me (older people), as I’ve lived 24,000 days (so far)! Amazing! Could I remember each one? Of course, not! So, what is life about anyway, Marty? We only remember the ‘highlights!’

Yesterday, I felt good, I remember that, cycling around picking up my repaired clothing, laundry, Indy’s, poluo (Payzullah), DCShop, writing, starting out in the morning in my new ‘Net Bar!’

What an improvement this ‘Net Bar,’ is for 2Y per hour compared to Ali’s Bullshit (Business) Center in the International Hotel for 16Y (rip off the tourists of course). Thus, they won’t see me back there again anytime soon. And I warned them… ‘Your equipment doesn’t work!’ I don’t mind paying more, as long as it works well!

I’m beginning to understand why the Uyghurs are ruled by the Chinese…

Anyway, I have to depart earlier and cycle about a kilometer to this place on the ‘Walking Street.’ But, worth the effort! Things work, and it’s relatively fast! So, they’re going to get to know me in this Net Bar on the walking street (I’ve tried all of them in K.)! Even with the shouting and smoking it’s a better situation than Ali’s.

Interestingly, they have little private rooms with two computers where you can watch movies and fondle your girlfriend. This costs a mere 4Y / .50 cents per, or 15Y all night (this place never closes). So, I’m going to check it out soon sans girlfriend and movie. I like being away from the madding crowd! Additionally, the idea occurred to me… It you didn’t have much money, you could pay 15Y / $1.90U.S. and sneak sleeping there (they have doors).

And below, near where I was directed to park/lock Ms. Fiets, I found the talisman bag (don’t know how else to describe) I’ve been searching for as my old hemp one make in Kathmandu has worn out (in five years). This, in a little shop for young girls (again don’t know how to describe the items sold in this shop except to say, it has posters of celebrities on the wall).

This ‘talisman bag’ I now wear around my neck (like the old one) replaced for 12 Yuan (RMB – the ‘People’s money’ – everything in China is the ‘People’s!’ – who are they kidding? The people!). Anyway, I transferred the holy objects/relics from my hemp bag, to this new Chinese manufactured bag. Let’s see how long it lasts!

The objects in this ‘bag,’ that I wear around my neck… A crystal, a heart-shaped and decorated piece of bone from Nepal, ‘Neal,’ my frog Prince (from Genai), and various ‘power’ stones from around the world. For one, a circular stone with a natural hole in it I discovered one day walking in Maravillas Creek (Big Bend, Texas, U.S.A).

I had lost the whole ‘shebang,’ on our cycling trip from Uremqi to Kashigar in October. I take it off when bathing, of course, and had left it inadvertently in a hotel room in a small village on highway #314. But, this turns out to be an interesting story… At the same time I’d left Rotraut’s ‘necklace,’ (again hard to accurately describe what these are: non decorative items worn around the neck?).

I didn’t discover the loss until the next night, now some 100 kilometers from the village/hotel, in a different hotel/city. But, think about this… At the same time, day, moment, hotel, Mamat had done exactly the same thing in an adjacent hotel room… He’d left what he wears around his neck too! So, when I explained, he understood (this took some acting as he speaks little English and me little Uyghur). Even more amazingly he indicated he could recover, as he knew someone who worked at this hotel… What are the odds?

We had to wait, quite a long time, however, as the man Mamat knew had been fired from his job at the hotel for drinking (too much). We had completed our cycling trip to Kashigar, and I’d been there for one month before receiving the items in a package from Dilmurat in Uremqi! I think the odds are one-in-one-million, recovering such! I describe to you the story, as an example of the ‘power’ of these items! They returned to me! And now, the ‘live’ and ‘live me,’ around my neck!

By the way, ancient people worn the same kinds of relics, etc. Pieces of the earth they knew to be full of power, protecting them. Particular the Native peoples of what’s now called the U.S. So, I’m in ‘good company!’ As the ‘Heart Stone,’ comes from the Dinay people, a the gift of ‘unconditional love’ from Sisnaanjani (in Colorado). This holy stone we’re taking to Mt. Kailas, nee ‘Pilgrimage to Mt. Kailas!’

Anyway, life on the road with ‘the Dragon’… Interesting… Today, for some reason, I don’t have Chinese characters available with ‘Word 2000!’ So, I have to use Roman letters.

I hate ‘WORD,’ MICROSOFT, AND BILL GATES! Oh, woe be to them who steal!

Monday, February 20, 2006

19 February 2006 The Daily Dosage

‘The $1-million dollar lesson!’

A recent title to an editorial in ‘China Daily,’ probably the most widely read English-speaking publication in China: ‘As we get wealthier, do we get happier?.’

I read the editorial (in the February 11-12th edition) and had to respond to this question, as I talk about this subject all the time in ‘The Daily Dosage.’ Today’s ‘Dose,’ entitled, ‘The $1-million dollar lesson!’

I have some experience in China now, almost a year, and from Shanghai to Kashigar (the length of the country from east to west). Thus, I have some idea what’s going on in China (bursting capitalism). I lived the majority of my life in the U.S., so I know what went on there (while I was there: 1940 to 2004). Now, a declining culture of capitalism. But, in the 1960’s, the U.S., much like it is now in China!

It may amaze my friends there in the U.S. and other places, to learn I had made one million U.S. dollars before the age of 30!. I’d had a plan, from the time I was 17-years old, and that to work in television in New York City, and my plan worked! ‘Moon River, wider than a mile, I’m crossing you in style some day!’ my inspiration, the movie ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s!’ Inspiration is important!

I wasn’t a particularly bright kid, just persevering! I could (and still can) out work most people, and with the tenacity of a ‘Gila Monster!’

By the time I was but 18-years old I was directing the ‘live-live,’ news strip at a TV station in Tucson, Arizona. Not exactly ‘prime time,’ but I learned some key things, some basic things, as I had thoughtful ‘bosses.’ I got this job at the TV station, when my friends said I’d never work in television.

I attended the University of Arizona, as it was there where I lived, and inexpensive for ‘townies’ of which I was one. Simultaneously, I joined ROTC (Reserve Officer’s Training Corps.), which meant studying military science.

However, I used my subsequent commission and ‘tour of active duty,’ more advantageously than most. I ended up stationed in New York City, being assigned to the Army Pictorial Center (in Long Island City)—thus using the skills I’d learned working at an NBC affiliate. Not only did I ‘shoot’ 35MM film at the Pictorial Center, but made friends across the East River in ‘The City.’ One in a million for any Second Lieutenant in the Army, circa. 1963!

But, as an example of my tenacity, I must tell you how I managed to get assigned to this unusual military ‘post.’ I remember there were people in the U.S. Army, who didn’t even know this facility existed! I did, however, and thus when it came time to select where I wanted to be ‘stationed,’ I knew what to put on the form: U.S. (domestic) and the ‘lst Army Area’ (New York City). They didn’t let you pick the exact ‘post,’ just the Continent and the Army area.

But, boy was I shocked when I got my orders for the 1st Army Communications Complex in Bullville, N.Y. (roughly 100 miles northwest of New York City)!

After recovering from shock, and never giving up my dream, I devised another plan! Luckily, at the time I was studying the ‘care and feeding’ of teletype machines at Fort Monmouth, N.Y. But, fortuitously this Army post just happened to have a major television facility.

Thus, I went and presented myself to its ‘CO,’ or ‘boss,’ of this Army TV facility and plead my case! He was most kind and had some useful ideas. One, he would write a letter for me, and secondly he suggested I go to Washington, D.C. to the Pentagon (with this letter).

Now, for those of you who know, maybe have been in the military, you might understand the Pentagon, the five-sided building housing all the services, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Secretary of Defense in Washington, D.C. (most recently attacked on 9/11/02). Usually, there’s a line of limousines a mile long at the VIP entrance. Additionally, there’s so much rank and ‘brass,’ in the building they use Lieutenant Generals (one-star) to sweep up the floors (as ‘janitors’).

Here I was the lowly of the lowliest (a Second Lieutenant) requesting my orders be changed (unheard of)! But, ‘hudspaw,’ (Marty will know how to spell the Yiddish!) works! I plead my case, as having five years experience at a commercial TV station, and it would be a waste of taxpayer’s money to have me in Bullville! Amazingly, it worked! My orders were ‘recut,’ (the military expression), and I was assigned to the ‘Pic Center,’ as we called it.

During my active tour of duty at the Pictorial Center, which took me all over the world, I planned my next move: to get a job at one of the television networks across the East River in ‘the City!’ I had my heart set on working in the ‘big time!’ Impossible, most said!

Ah, I love the word, now used by ‘Addidas,’ in their AD campaign (at least in China: ‘Impossible is nothing!’). I remember I would respond to such negativity with, ‘Watch me!’

I found out personally, that perseverance, is in fact, omnipotent! In order to get the job I wanted at ABC Sports, Inc, I called my ‘boss to be,’ a guy named Chuck Howard every day for six months, every day mind you! I remember the Director of ABC TV Personnel, telling me to give up, that I’d never get a job in Sports (he’d been trying himself for several years).

After getting the job on the 28th Floor, at 1330 Avenue of the Americas, it was all ‘downhill!’ after that! Money flowed like the Chateau Lafite Rothschild I grew to love! I lived like the ‘other half’ (rich people) live, but guess what! Well, several things…

First, I’d been taught how to ‘get there’ (ambition) but never how to deal with it, once I ‘got there!’ Thus, here I was with high-rolling ‘assholes,’ (rich and powerful people) and beginning to hate myself!

This led to a form of depression that caused me drink excessively. I can’t really explain my behavior during this period of my life, except bizarre (I didn’t know what to do.)!

Here I was on top of the world, flying first class, producing sporting events all over the world, and I should have been ecstatic! But, I wasn’t! There was so much ‘bullshit,’ at that ‘high’ level, I was drowning in it! It takes a certain kind of person to ‘swim with sharks;’ to swallow that kind of bullshit! I simply didn’t have the ability, nor did I want to acquire it! Thus, I started telling them (my bosses) what they didn’t want to hear, and soon became PNG (‘persona non grata’).

The upshot, I got fired from ABC! Amazingly, this turned out to be one of the best things that could have happened! I’m still amazed, how life appears at one ‘stage,’ only to appear completely differently at another ‘stage!’ I went on to work for the other television networks (wouldn’t give up), only to discover, I was right the first time! I was in the wrong place.

There’s absolutely no integrity in ‘that game!’ The old coach of the Green Bay Packers, Vince Lombardi had said it, ‘Winning isn’t the only thing, it’s everything!’ In that ‘league,’ (network television) the ‘means justify the ends!’ I saw people ‘killed,’ and over money, over a job! I saw lives ruined nee ‘Death of a Salesman!’ (by Arthur Miller). My bosses back at KVOA/4 in Tucson, hadn’t mentioned anything about this, prepared me for anything like this! And I couldn’t ‘stomach’ it! I couldn’t compete in this ‘league,’ saddled with my old-fashioned western morality! Who would have ever thought!

I got out of network television and New York City and saved my life! I started giving away all that I had amassed, from cash to clothing, and the less I had, the better I began to feel!

Now, some forty years later, I have very little, and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life! I don’t own anything, nor have any kind of insurance, but live basically on a bicycle and my meager SSA check (that I earned ). How to explain?

Thus, when you pose this question to me, ‘As we get wealthier, do we get happier?’ I can tell you from experience that I didn’t get ‘happier,’ but unhappier. Money, and we all need a requisite amount to live, can buy some security, but that’s all. If that’s your idea of ‘happiness,’ so be it, it wasn’t mine!

Of course, you can hardly tell any young person this (be they Chinese or American), their appetites whetted with ‘fame and fortune!,’ the beauty queen or king,’ the big car and the big house, with endless luxury ! How can you explain to them this is the worst thing that could ever happen to them…? You can’t, so I don’t, it’s not my business to tell them (directly)!

What I try to do with young people (or any that ask) is to tell my story, and help them develop and empower them to discover their own destinies.

I think what’s important in life is living to discover your own destiny! But, you have to discover and evolve on your own! Experience is all! I have a University degree, but learned little from all the years of formal education! What I value is a ‘Ph.D.’ from the ‘School of Hard Knocks!’ my mother called it!

Many people tried to explain to me what it was like at ‘the top,’ (getting $ rich) but I couldn’t hear when I was growing up! I had to experience it for myself. I had to live my own life to discover what’s important to me, and to ‘allow’ my destiny to evolve! I had to ‘fail,’ my way to (my) ‘success!’

There’s one very important thing to learn, and that is that each of you has a ‘destiny!’ Each of you has something to do, to learn, to create, to understand! That consciousness is the most important thing you can acquire (worth billions, trillions of dollars). Yet, you can’t buy it with money. Only with ‘blood, sweat, and tears!’ Maybe with a little (actually a lot of) help from that ‘thing,’ that unseen, unheard, un-material thing, that if I named it (for you), it would lose its power!

Some religions called it ‘God!’ I’m not into religions!

I’m a mystic! And mystics don’t believe in ‘middlemen!’ (priests, ministers, gurus, or popes). They believe in going directly to the ‘Source’ (beyond words) and having a ‘relationship with ‘that.’ I don’t go to church nor read a book describing ‘it.’ I’m writing a book of my own!

I’ve discovered something sublime, yet ineffable! Something that will take hundreds of years to get into main stream consciousness (long after I have no ego body)! I’ve tried to explain to some of my more enlightened friends, but they don’t get it, they’re not ready! And who am I to ‘sell’ it!

One of Rumi’s great lines, only discovered 800 years after he ‘lost his ego body:’ ‘How can I sell sorrow, when you know it’s good for them?’

Now, who would have ever known, least of all me, about such matters! I wanted to get $ rich, make a million dollars before I was 30-years of age, get the beauty queen and live happily ever after! But it turned out that the money wasn’t important, the lesson was! So, I got a ‘million-dollar lesson!’

Now, I’m genuinely ‘rich!’ ‘Rich’ beyond explaining!

Unfortunately, for the world (circa 2006), ‘money has become God,’ and how they get it, a ‘religion!’ But, you don’t have to listen to such! You can be different! You can create something everlasting!

We can create something everlasting together!

Let us ‘Make magic together!’

How? By unlocking your potential! Daring to live, to risk, to get out of that small ‘box’ you think in! Do what I did, dare to ‘fail your way to your success!’

That’s what life is all about!

‘Those who are not busy being born, are busy dying!’ (Bob Dylan)

Be ‘busy being born!’ And, all the time!

Seek the unknown, by creating a life worth living, by giving to others (less ‘fortunate’), by discovering who you really are!

‘Life is a daring adventure, or nothing at all!’ (Helen Keller)

Dare to have a great adventure! You’ve but one life to live as your name!

Join us! Let us ‘Make magic together!’

the¡˙

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

15 February 2006 The Daily Dosage

Ah, yesterday Spring was in the air! Today, it snowed, and for most of the day! So, today winter returned pleasing me (I love snow!)!

And what a snowy, slippery and event packed day it was! I lead an interesting life! An example… Today in Kashigariadi!

I first go get online with Gulshat (the young Uyghur woman who clerks the ‘Business Center in the ‘International Xinibagh,’ this where they offer the Internet). Nothing is working, however! I can’t upload images , and I don’t have the file (‘The Daily Dosage’) I need on my removable drive. It’s frustrating!

However, at www.nytimes.com there are two very valuable articles about what’s happening in China. If you want to know, all I have to do is go all the way to N.Y.C. to learn about ‘next door.’ After two frustrating hours, I depart to visit my Chinese friend Hu, and tell her the good news about the elder Chinese cyclists, how much I enjoyed yesterday.

Except, I fall down the stairs just outside of the hotel. I don’t injure myself, but it’s so slick I can barely stay on my feet.

In Asia they do nothing like spread salt or sand for better traction. You’re on your own in Asia (caveat emptor 10X in all ways). And there’s no such thing as tort liability!

I fell a couple of more times on the icy concrete, before making it to Hu’s office at CIT (Chinese Information for Tourists). This, no more than fifty meters from the Internet place (inside the ‘International’ building).

I have a strange conversation with Hu, my Chinese friend! No, she can’t accept any invitations to eat out, as she’s a strict, strict vegetarian. O.K., ‘Plan B.’ I’ll buy her a gift (she’s been a big help to me). And I shouldn’t be late for the cyclists next time! Actually this was her fault as I waited yesterday at the hotel, when the elder group waited for me on the street (they called her… ‘Where am I?’ ). Note: Meeting people in modernity, even with all the latest hi-tech gear, the most challenging of things! I’m her ‘older brother, she my younger sister,’ she tells me upon departing. Even though her computer is ‘slow,’ I can use it any time!

I walk on to Eversuns to have lunch. But, again, it’s treacherous going. I’m carrying my package for Michael Butler and my camera (in case). Of course, I have my backpack. I’m always carrying stuff, the ‘Missouri mule,’ I am.

Eversun’s is slow as many stay home in such weather. I call Ali and we’re to meet at the Pakistani Café at 1600 hours. I call Jason and ‘Yes, there’s an English Corner’ meeting at Kashigar Teacher’s College tonight beginning earlier than normal, about 1700 hours.’ I tell him I’ll try to make.

On to China Post, and/or Indy’s Café… I have many tasks today. I also plan to call Rotraut in Germany via telephone. I need to clear up some confusion!

I’ve been to China Post one time already trying to mail this package to musician friend Michael in Nashville. The first time, ‘no good,’ I have to pack better. So, I spend days collecting old newspaper.

At China Post, sorry again, newspaper is unacceptable as a packing agent. I think because maybe a fire hazard…?

Off I go to the Digital Photo Express to turn in a roll of film and have an image printed for me. I want to give it to Zhang Lei at the Bank of China. She’s been such a help, and not only that somewhat solicitous (and I don’t know how to deal with this?). This is the photograph of me and Mao, that ran with the article in the ‘Kashgar Daily,’ newspaper.

But, when I get to DPE I discover the image hasn’t made it onto the removable drive. Yet, another time when files don’t transfer. Also, and worse, I’ve damaged my camera in the earlier fall down the stairs. The lens cover and UV filter smashed. I’m lucky, however, there appears to be no great damage to the zoom lens itself. This is the second time I’ve broken the UV filter, and every time it costs $20U.S. (one of the more expensive things in China, camera accessories).

I try to get the damaged filter off, but can’t even with the ‘needle-nosed’ pliers they loan me. I turn in my film for processing, and buy a replacement roll. I’m about to depart when the Chinese owner returns. He’s able, with much effort, to get the filter off! And thank God with nary a scratch on the actual lens. Tomorrow, when I return I’ll buy another filter, etc.

Off to Indy’s and to call Rotraut. I want to have Indy deal with the package, or at least tell me where to find the proper packing material.

Indy’s Café, which I love and enjoy going to, is on a side street, roughly 300 meters south of the main east-west street in Kashigar, Remin (People) Road. There’s always a ‘People’s Street,’ in a Chinese city! Today, this dirt street, where Indy’s Café is located, is awash in mud! I debate going around and approach on the paved portion. But, I have my trekking boots on, so I ‘walk on water.’

At Indy’s I discover ‘Jesu, Of Our Man’s Desiring!’ (my favorite Bach piece) playing over speakers! I’m amazed! Bach in Kashigar? I explain to Elia, the English-speaking waitress, about J.S. Bach. Of course, she’s never heard of, but this CD (Josh Groban’s ‘Live at the Greek’) turns out to be Indy’s favorite! I’m even more amazed! A Chinese woman who loves Bach! If I were twenty years younger, and not a celibate Taoist priest…

I ask about the package. I find out, it’s not newspaper per se that’s the problem, but the fact that it’s Chinese news (on paper) that’s a ‘no no.’ The Chinese Government doesn’t want you to know what’s going on here, so one of the rules is that you can’t send newspaper, even as packing, out of the country! I look up the word ‘stupid,’ in my English-Chinese Dictionary and point it out to the girls. They giggle!

Indy finds empty boxes and a Chinese coke container to use as light-weight ‘packing material.’ I ‘donate’ the newspaper to the Café.

I’m off again to make my international telephone call to Germany—this to clear up the confusion with Rotraut! I surprise her with the call, but we only talk for a few minutes (as is expensive). We are a mutual admiration society, the ‘Loving Kindness Group’ Fund! She loves me, and I love her! She’s coming for a visit in April. I can’t wait!

I head back to China Post, the third time in one day, and the fourth time total. Unfortunately, now it’s busy, the counter full of customers getting their packages wrapped. I wait and wait, while the Uyghur clerk patiently packs two boxes full of food (everything loose) for an Uyghur women (I chortle to myself silently). A Chinese man appears to my left and squeezes too close. This is when I begin to get pushy myselft (as I only have so much patience). I say something that he doesn’t understand but he gets the idea. It’s not what you say, but the way you say it that counts! People understand ‘energy!’

Finally, after waiting another fifteen minutes I find out I have to go upstairs and have them check the contents, as this is going to America! By now, I’m beyond being patient, I’m just curious to see how all this is going to ‘play out.’ I’m not giving up!

Up stairs is empty, except for two women in a back office. They go through the package, and ask questions. After packing and unpacking and packing this box so many times, it seems like a ‘Chinese fire drill’ (no water pressure)! Finally I get a verbal ‘O.K.’ I’m wondering, however, if I need some paper work to prove. No, just tell the people downstairs it’s ‘O,K.!’. So, I could have acted like I’d gone upstairs, returned a few minutes later and just said ‘O.K.,’ bypassing the check. Bureaucracies always have ‘holes.’ What’s the word for ‘stupid,’ again?

Now back at the packing counter they’re beginning to get the idea that the American man is losing his patience (must be my demeanor). Suddenly, the package is wrapped, signed, sealed, and I’m to deliver to another counter in the rear.

Here, I’ve been so many times in the past few days, they recognize me, and I get the ‘royal treatment.’ But, here I must fill out, not one, but two custom forms. The only good news is that while I’m doing all this I’m befriended by a female Uyghur doctor, who ‘just loves America.’ We chat momentarily about Uyghur music (I’ve explained that’s what I’m sending to a friend in the U.S.). She wants to know why I know so little about it. I respond with an invitation to teach me! Outside, she reiterates I’m to call her for a lesson (having given me her telephone number at the counter).

Feeling ‘desired,’ and free of the package I’m suddenly less disgruntled. However, it’s going to take ‘two to three months’ to get the package to Michael, as ‘surface’ meant via ship (I wasn’t thinking I was so annoyed.). Maybe he’ll get it by next Christmas! Maybe he won’t get it at all! And even surface cost 140 yuan or / $16U.S. (box fairly light too).

What to do now, as I’ve got the package on the way (at least)! Only a couple more tasks, but I realize I’m low on cash. On my list is to purchase another pair of inexpensive trekking pants ($3U.S.) I need more. So, I stop at a Bank of China ATM . Next door I purchase some food-grade hydrogen peroxide (I use as a mouth wash) in an apocathary (another word for ‘drugstore’).

Note: My ‘spell checker,’ says this word (‘apothecary’) is mis-spelled, but has no suggestions!’ If only computers hadn’t been invented by human beings! So, please, one of you ‘human beings out there,’ correct me!

At the clothing stall, I purchase my pants, as in the meantime, I’ve managed to rip the seam in the seat of the ones I’m wearing (getting drafty). I would have changed there, but these places never have any ‘changing/fitting rooms/closets.’ Note, one of the challenges of buying clothing in Asia… You can never try garments on, at the same time you can’t return them either (if you don’t like). So, you better make damn sure they’re right and what you want before you hand over the cash…

It’s now 1540 hours, and I have just the proper amount of time to walk to the Pakistani Restaurant where I’m to meet Ali (my Pakistani friend). I’m also dropping off some books for the female Uyghur proprietor (a woman I met when in Kashigar the first time).

When I arrive, and right at 1600 hours (I’m rarely late for anything, anywhere), the place is empty except for a Uyghur man who recognizes me (and me vaguely him). The TV is blaring a Uyghur or Pakistani movie! I’m happy when he lowers the volume!

I sit and order two cups (they’re small) of Pakistani ‘cha’ (this the spiced tea a la Nepal and India). Note, one reason for going to this ‘dump!’ But, he’s a kind man, like most Uyghur people. The female owner a Uyghur woman I’m helping learn English (the books).

While I’m waiting another man walks in I mistake as Pakistani. Where’s Ali? Not even a telephone call!

If Asians, at least Uyghurs, Pakistanis and Nepalese ever want to know why they’re $ poor, I can explain! Money has to do with profit, profit with productivity, productivity with efficiency, and efficiency with being able to perform the simplest tasks, like showing up for a meeting (and on time). These three ethic groups can’t seem to do this, so it’s no wonder to me!

The cha comes at the same time my attention is drawn to the music behind me (coming from the TV). It catches my attention, so I turn around and discover a male vocalist on TV speakers, backed up by many musicians (a small orchestra). I listen intrigued. It’s a haunting ballad, no doubt about lost love! I ask the man who’ve I’ve mistaken for Pakistani. I ask him, gesturing, ‘A Pakistani man?’ ‘No,’ he says, ‘Uyghur!’ The music continues, me taken with such. When it ends I ask the man the name of the group. Turns out to be (I had him write it down.), ‘Abdul Rahim, and the Uremqi Orchestra!’ So, now when I’m with Dr. Sanam, I’ll mention I’m fond of Abdul!

I order more cha, another two cups, hoping Ali will arrive and drink one!

Instead of Ali, Elvis shows up… Don’t tell me my life isn’t a ‘movie!’ Elvis, a Uyghur friend, seems to hang out here at ‘Alice’s Res-ta-rant !.’ Although he’s always telling me he ‘sees me at a distance,’ and diverts to join. Today he has some ‘big news,’ as he’s getting married. I’m intrigued, as months ago he told me he, at 35-years of age, was looking for a wife. At the time he hadn’t said anything about his first wife!

Interesting… the Uyghurs, who are all Moslems, have a high divorce rate… The Chinese less, as the husbands have ‘lovers’ (concubines in China).

Is there a connection between religion and divorce? I believe there is! Which one is the ‘opium,’ however?

He also reveals some things about himself, which engenders him to me. I had thought other of Elvis!

But, we can’t come to the wedding because it’s to be held (in two weeks) in a ‘military town’ (Shuli, about 30 KM southeast of Kashigar). Something about ‘foreigners’ getting in trouble there…? But, for whatever reason, I’m happy, as weddings are not ‘my thing!’ I’d rather attend a funeral, as they are to me! More children! That’s what we need, more children we can’t feed! More children with no futures! Anyway, I’m happy for Elvis, as this is something he desired. But, now I know he’ll not be able to go cycling with me on his new bicycle! Once a man falls ‘in love’ with a woman, forget it—they’re pretty much lost to their friends. I cite my friend Jim, who was recently remarried! I haven’t heard from him since!

By now, it’s time to go to ‘English Corner,’ at the Kashgar Teacher’s College. Ali has not shown or called! Elvis departs with me, and tells the Uyghur taxi driver where to take me (none of them speak English, few even Chinese).

I arrive at KTC, about 1645, again right on time! I’m dropped at the gate, and have to walk up the long street to the building where ‘English Corner,’ is ‘held’ (met, or however you want to describe this phenomena ). I like being around young people, their energy, and there are hundreds walking to and fro. Spring, in spite of the new snow,’ is in the air! You can ‘smell the sap rising!’ These ‘kids’ are cute too, doing their thing, hustling about, playing basketball, talking with friends, running hither and yon—‘poetry’ in motion!

At the building there is already one Uyghur women waiting! She turns out to be…? Well, I should have written her name down, this cute 18-year old Uyghur girl at ‘English Corner’ for the first time.

All these kids, particularly the women, are shy, yet motivated enough to pursue. Additionally, I know how to put young people at ease (being an acting teacher). Here, however, I’m an English teacher!

Within an hour I’m surrounded by thirty young people! Where is Jason I’m wondering? I’m the only English speaker, so I’m glad I came, lest these kids would have no one! I make a commitment to come every Wednesday evening. But, I’m being selfish, as I get more out of it, than they do!

These kids, mostly Uyghur and a few Chinese, are all very polite, solicitous, and eager to learn--respectful and gracious besides. It’s not like teaching in the U.S. where most of the time, students don’t want to be there (learn) and/or bored and fall asleep on you! These kids hang on your every word! I care about these kids, and want them to succeed!

When it comes to a discussion, why I have no immediate family (God forbid they all lament), I give my now standard spiel. First of all, I’ve been married/divorced twice, but no children. ‘Ohhhhh, sorry,’ they intone as if I’ve been diagnosed with cancer! Especially the women!

But, this is what I respond with, always confounding them. ‘My family is just a little bit larger than yours! It includes all the people in the world! My country is just a little larger than yours, as it includes all the countries of the world! You’re now part of my family!’ But, oh, don’t I want to have children of my own! ‘No! thank you! What do I value? ‘Freedom!’ ‘Ohhhh!’

Just to my left a young Uyghur man speaks up! ‘I disagree with you!’ he says proudly! I encourage such, defusing his argument in the process. I know how to handle such, not about to argue with him. But, I want to tell him, but don’t, go ahead and have many wives and many children… We’ll talk in 20 years, and you can tell me what you’ve learned!

All these Moslem children inculcated with ‘the party line!’ They don’t really know, just like I didn’t when I got married (for the first time) at 22-years of age! Who can at such a young and tender age? I’m just glad I didn’t grow up in a Moslem household!

At 1900 hours, after standing/speaking in a hallway for two hours, it’s time for me to depart. No other English speaker has shown, and I’m ‘spent,’ from the ‘stimulation!’ They as me to define the word! They’re a bright and eager group, the kind I love to sacrifice for. But, again, it’s a selfish endeavor, these ‘English Corners,’ as they make you feel like some kind of celebrity!

On the way, a young Uyghur woman wants to know more about me, about America, where I come from. Earlier I had told the group my ancestors are basically from the U.K.; Scotland. I explain how America was settled by people sailing from Europe, the U.K. I use the analogy associated with Uyghur people who are of Turkish origin. Ah, she understands!

It’s so rewarding when you see ‘the light go on,’ in children’s minds! I suppose it’s the reason some of us love to teach!

I fall into bed at 2100 hours! I’ve been up since 0500 hours, a 16-hour day full of snowy living (dealing with) in Uyghur/Chinese land!

People ask me all the time, what I do? I tell them… ‘As little as possible!’ Today, an example!

¡˙

14 February 2006 The Daily Dosage (St. Valentine’s Day)

I had Payzullah ask me today how to spell in English, this day about loving, and lovers. And so I did before eating my ‘poluo’ at Rohlan’s Fast Food Restaurant in Kashigar, Xinjiang Province, China (near Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Krygyzstan! We border on my ‘Stans!’ But, you’d rather hear about loving and lovers I’m sure! ‘S-a-I-n-t V-a-l-e-n-t-I-n-e-‘-s D-a-y-!’ Of course the capital ‘I’s are incorrect but this is ‘Word 2000,’ not right, always doing things you don’t want or need! I’m not fond of ‘Windows’ and/or Bill Gates!

I spent my St. Valentines Day out riding in the countryside with eight Chinese men, the ‘Kashigar Elder’s Cycling Group,’ this courtesy of Hu and Lu’s daughter.

Last night at Indy’s Café I met the two leaders, one, Mr. Lu, is the father of the young Chinese woman who wrote an article about us in the ‘Kashgar Daily.’ In fact, that’s how I learned about such. The other was a Mr. Wong. Hu acted as interpreter, as the Chinese speak no English, and me little Chinese.

Then today eight of them met me at the Xinibagh Hotel, and took me for a short (3 hours) jaunt into the country side. And oh how lovely it was! I’m the happiest when riding ‘Ms. Fiet!’ It’s a sensual experience to me!

We went out a road that I’d cycled on before, but not as far out. We must have gone 15 to 20 kilometers due west, and finally to a huge billboard (image in the ‘Gallery’ at www.cyclingpeace.org ) of a large ‘corpo’ (not ‘coop’ as in the old days) farm. Just prior we’d gone over a canal full of rushing water. We stopped at this billboard, took a ‘smoke ’ break, and then returned a different route. I ate an apple.

I saw geese flying, a flock no doubt making their way back up north, as Spring is definitely in ‘the air!’ These are the only geese I can remember seeing in China (so far).

It’s that time of year (at 38 degrees north latitude), when winter is waning, and Spring is waxing. There’s still some snow on the ground, but the land is soaking it up, and very happily I might add. This will be a good growing year in south Xinjiang, because they’ve had more snow than usual.

You can see Spring in the sunlight. It’s always the light that ‘says’ so much to me! Maybe that’s why I’m a photographer.

I was trying to think how I might describe the rural (Kashgaria) scene… This ‘Uyghur’ part of the world?

Nature, and the Uyghurs have conspired to mute most into a light chocolate color. The earth and the buildings blend together from the same soil, and the leaf-less poplar trees stand, their white trunks in contrast. The old wooden doors to the Uyghur compounds, the paint weathered off, adding even more authenticity. All the rest, the straw, the animals, even the people are a variety of earth tones. It gives one solace to be a part of this for some reason.

On the other hand, I wonder about the rural Uyghurs, what it’s like? The dirty-faced children with no future, the toiling women, the game-playing men. These are farmers, and related. I wonder what goes through their minds, their mouths open when eight Chinese and one American cyclist glide past on their exotic bicycles.

What goes through these people’s minds…? I’m very curious, as they all look the same pretty much, act pretty much the same, live pretty much the same seemingly boring life. So many of the men with nothing to do, but sit in the sun. But, maybe this is a wonderful life, who knows? In some ways, I’m envious!

The faces, however, all very uniquely weathered! Especially the older men with their long, white, Lincolnesque beards (no mustache), and their Uyghur hats. The knee-high pull-on boots they wear over their trousers.

Interestingly, the men have three, maybe four different ‘hats,’ to tell who and what they do. The women all cover their heads in various ways, mostly with scarves.

The women, no matter what they’re doing all wear skirts. And the women do just about everything, from giving birth, to shoveling snow, to cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the children (of course). I saw a young woman today in a red outfit (in contrast with the earthy browns) on one end of a cross-cut saw. She was helping her husband no doubt.

‘…Back and forth, until we are lost in each other, not knowing which is which, but not really caring!’

And maybe red for ‘St. Valentine’s Day!’ Red, the Chinese color of good fortune and luck!

Women, the most amazing sex! And in Uyghur/Moslem land, oppressed of course. Many cover their faces, but other in the city are looking more and more hip. Note, the Chinese women already emancipated and looking very ‘cool’ looking!

The Uyghur children are free to wander and play on the paved roads. They have a myriad of games they amuse themselves with simple toys. They get hurt, cry and mother comes, leading them back into the compound for candy, or some other distraction.

On most roof tops, the peripatetic TV antennas, usually some metal framework at the top of a high pole. They’ve got to have that TV! They may be poor, but they live in a different fantasy world courtesy of the ‘airwaves!’

‘Row, row, row, you boat! Gently down the stream! Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream!’ An old campfire tune, we used to sing (in ‘round’) while driving down one of America’s new two-lane highways. The lyrics, I never realized until recently, very profound!

On the way back to Kashigar, a lone black crow in a white poplar tree! I could not help but notice!

If I could paint,
Colors
In black and white,
It would mean,
Nature
Creates art!
A black bird
In a white tree!
Contrasts!

What was that bird ‘thinking?’ ‘If I rest here for a moment, an American cyclist will pedal by, see me, and be impressed! He’ll return to his hotel in Kashigar and write about seeing me! I’ll become famous!’

‘Black bird singing in the dead of night…’ (Ah, Marty, can you guess…?)

A flock of geese in the steel-gray sky!

‘Snow white’ on the ground brown! Melting… Melding into life…

‘We are coming together! Everything, everybody, everywhere! We are coming together!

A Uyghur three-wheeled ‘truck,’ with a boy at the controls was playing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song, parked by the side of the road! I first noticed this phenomena in Uremqi, where the street-cleaning trucks play this tune, so it must be commercially available (and liked). But, out in Uyghur land, to come across this, in the middle of nowhere… It made me break out, and sing along, amusing my Chinese friends. “Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday, dear ‘Spr-in-ing,’ Happy Birthday to you!”

‘We are coming together!’ The people of Xinjiang, don’t wait for a ‘birthday,’ to enjoy this tune!

Oh life, so variegated if you’ll only stop for a moment to notice! Trapped in modernity you rush through your daily routine, not noticing anything, but your aches, pains, and desires!

We complain mostly! ‘We don’t have time!’ We always think about what we don’t have, versus what we do! My mother used to admonish me, ‘Count your blessings!’ she would say! Thank you, mother!

I must tell you after living in China for some seven months I’m impressed with the Chinese people! They’re friendly and generous, not unlike Americans! They’re industrious and hard working. They’re ambitious and bursting forth into a ‘Brave New World’ they hardly understand! Unfortunately, money has become their ‘God,’ here, like the rest of the world!

I predict, if they can ‘reel in,’ their over population, they will rule the world in the near future! As their stars (five on their flag) rises, American stars sink (way over extended). But, as it should be, we had our day! Cultures rise and fall (remember Rome?)! We had our ‘day in the sun,’ although America ‘burned out so fast!’ Fast start, fast finish! Slow start, slow finish (China)! Maybe!

We parted back in Kashigar, my Chinese cycling hosts pointing me toward the Xinibagh Hotel. It was a good outing, and I hope to do more with them. They are a good group and most generous. There’s something about people who ride bicycles…? I need to teach them, however, not to throw trash on ‘Mother Earth!’

This Saturday, in fact, this group plans heading out east, going some forty kilometers, eighty total. I think they’re getting into shape, for their long (one month) trip around the Taklimakan Desert (2,300KM / 1,400 miles). I’d love to go with them, but this year is the ‘Year of Rotraut!’ my German friend is coming to Xinjiang in April. We’re going to be in the Taklimakan ourselves! Maybe we’ll see the Chinese cyclists cranking by… Maybe we’ll ride a camel! We certainly won’t be smoking any!

I glided past a small Uyghur boy, cycling. He was holding a smoldering trig in his hand. This is how we learn, we get burned! But, in the case of cigarettes, the ‘burning’ is so slow, besides coughing, we don’t notice it. The ‘pleasure’ it brings overcoming the pain!

I don’t try to stop people from smoking (any kind of ‘substance’)! I have my own destruction habits! But, I do get up and move if they smoke cigarettes near where I’m eating.

It’s the ‘1950s’ in China! You can smoke anywhere! This in contrast in the U.S., where you can hardly smoke cigarettes anywhere! What does this tell you? Consciousness… People in the U.S. are ahead of the Chinese in this one way! But, eventually, the Chinese will wise up! In the meantime, the Chinese Government encourages, as it makes billions of Yuan from taxing such!

It’s the people that have to lead!

Wake up, world!

Yes, Jim, it all has to do with consciousness ultimately!

¡˙ (the Dragon!)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

12 February 2006 The Daily Dosage

Ah, the weather, absolutely perfect today… People wonder why I’m here in Xinjiang… I tend to seek out places in the world that have the kind of weather, the kind today in Kashigar: sunny, dry, cool (mountains nearby)!

Today, felt like the first day of Spring. But, you can tell more by the birds than anything else... They’re out searching for the perfect tree to build their nests. Spring (love) is in the air the sign reads in front of Indy’s Café (see images in the ‘gallery’ at www.cyclingpeace.org )

So, I cranked out into the country, trying to get away from the madding crowds of ‘millions’ of Uyghur and Chinese people! Being Sunday they’re out shopping, working, playing (cards) talking, talking and more talking, always and forever talking, and too loudly!

X.X. thinks Kashigar is a small city! It is to the Chinese, a mere 500,000! To me it’s too large with too many people!

I had a discussion with a Uyghur man this morning about over population! It doesn’t compute with him/them! In one ear and out the other! Thus, confirming my belief, once again, that there is no hope for mankind! We won’t get it in time! ‘The lower end,’ trapped in their cultural ‘boxes!’ ‘What stop having more children? Why that’s a idea I just can’t possibly fathom! We’ve been doing it our way for thousands of years, and you want us to change?’

I talked about the population of the earth with this young man, and what it will be like in another 100 years, if we don’t stop having so many children… Just no response… I suppose he just didn’t know what to say, as he’d never thought about it before! And therein lies the problem, the masses just don’t think beyond eating, procreating, playing, and working (to get the things they want)! Beyond that, very little…

I guess that’s why I’ve been called an ‘intellectual!’ I think the definition of an ‘intellectual’ is ‘someone who spends time thinking!’

Then again I ‘wax’ stupid also, not thinking when I should. I have a terrible habit of not thinking when it comes to little things. So, the plight of mankind… We are all too human! The ‘high’ think they’re such, and the low don’t think, so, ke garne?

But, maybe ‘thinking’ is a luxury! Some of us, ‘the lucky ones,’ were born in the right place and time, and who ‘chose’ the right parents, etc. We were educated, for one thing, and taught how to think (of ‘le grand!’). Most people are taught only how to do as they are told (not to think beyond the mundane ritual of following ‘the party line’ (generally a religious ‘track’).

The other day an interesting thing happened, I was asked to ‘be quiet,’ while someone prayed, this in the room where I pay to use the Internet… A lot of interesting thing happen to me, but never this before… ‘Be quiet while I pray to Allah!’ This while I’m paying the man 16RMB / $2U.S. per hour for the Internet. This request on Friday the Moslem ‘holy’ day. So, I was and he spread out his prayer rug and he bowed in the direction of Mecca, while I composed email messages!

This, in the little ‘Business Center,’ in the adjacent complex building where I get ‘online.’ It’s expensive, comparatively, but it works, and is quiet for the most part, and you’re not allowed to smoke. So, all of this worth it to me to pay $2U.S. / 16RMB per hour, when at a Net Bar it’s 2RMB, or 1/8th as much. You get what you ‘pay’ for in life! Worth it, even if I have to ‘be quiet’ during prayer hour! They should put up a sign which reads: ‘Please be quiet if a Moslem is praying!’

Afterwards, he asked me the great question… ‘Do I have a religion?’ Well, when this is asked of me, I pause and try to explain… In this case, I said that I have no religion but a relationship with ‘God!’ He seemed to understand. So, we went no further than that, as if I took him down the path where I go, would be like asking someone afraid of heights to climb Mt. Everest!

I watch the Uyghur men (I guess women don’t get to) praying like robots! God forbid if they would forget, or pray in the wrong direction! I want to ask them, ‘What does it mean for you to pray? What are you praying for? What reason? What if you didn’t? What about other religions? What about…? But, they don’t think about it, they ‘just do it!’ They’re the people that inspired the Nike motto! Truly, Marx was right when he said, ‘Religion is the opium of the masses!’

I also want to ask them why they don’t help their own kind (so many poor Uyghur people on the street begging)? That’s my ‘religion,’ Kasim, helping!

But, today, besides passing out RMB to a few on the streets, ‘Ms. Fiets’ (my bicycle) and I got out of town.

I need to build up endurance again, as I didn’t cycle while I was in Shanghai (five weeks). At my age, you dissipate quickly, plus I’m getting fat (around the middle)! So, I wanted to ‘crank’ for a couple of hours enjoying the weather, and NATURE! It was wonderful! I took photographs of birds! And I was ‘photographed’ (everywhere I go I’m observed). Me, the aberration, the white ’ghost’ in Xinjiang, the man wearing a helmet and riding such a bicycle (complete with flag). The Uyghur people are extremely curious (child like). It’s funny, however, when I stare back or wave, they quickly divert their eyes, as I guess staring is frowned upon. But, with me they can’t help it… An old man, on an exotic bicycle!

At one point, on a lonely stretch of highway, I stopped and sat in the sun! That’s what I needed was to get out into the sun, feel the wind, hear the birds, not the incessant sound of people talking! It isn’t ‘Bird Flu,’ you have to be concerned with in Asia, but ‘verbal diarrhea!’ It’s out of control here in China! People can’t stop talking! I want to quote an old Taoist saying to them, ‘Those who speak, do not know! Those who remain quiet, do!’

Now, out my window a veritable cacophony of fireworks as ‘Spring Festival’ ends (with the full moon). More noise! We’re frightening away the ‘evil spirits!’

But, this afternoon, wonderfully quiet ‘out there!’

Back in the chaos of Kashgar, I did the usual errands (shopping, laundry, etc.) but retreated to #324 as soon as I could. My time to meditate and pray, but in bed by 2000 hours (8P.M. to you ‘dummies!’ I’m going to write a book entitled, ‘Telling time for Dummies!)

Luckily, there are few other guests in this building (#3) of the Xinibagh Hotel (old British Consulate complex), and thus relatively quiet. Winter time… few tourists! The tourists don’t start returning until March 15th.

That is no banging, until I close my door… I have to shut it with some force (a veritable ‘explosion’) as it doesn’t ‘fit!’ The noise, reverberating in the courtyard.

Of course, beside the door not fitting, there are other things amiss in my room… The grating falling off the heater (under the window), etc. But, I’ve learned that you never get everything you desire, unless willing to pay for it (nothing new here). And I’m paying but 30RMB / or $4 U.S. per night! I’m a ‘special,’ case I’ve been told.

So, ‘special’ in fact, that they are now stealing things, like my hand pump, off my bicycle (chained below at night)! So, much for being ‘special!’ In fact, I’ve told my friends, both Uyghur and Chinese, and they don’t respond!

Thievery is just something that comes with the ‘new order,’ Capitalism (I suppose?)! People wonder why I’m considering joining the Communist Party…

The new ‘God’ is not Mao, but money! The new ‘religion,’ how to get it!

¡˙

Saturday, February 11, 2006

09 February 2006 The Daily Dosage (from ‘Hutch, Haqi, π˛qi, the ¡˙’)

It’s a rising yellow moon tonight, on the west side of the Taklimakan Desert, the second largest in the world (this is far, far western China). I’m in Kashigar, a very interesting city full of Moslems, Chinese, and Pakistani people! This is desert country, where wild camels roam freely! Where dates and pomegranates are plentiful.

I’m reminded of the first like of poetry I ever wrote, in 1989, in Scottsdale, Arizona (U.S.A.) It was a new moon, and I was in the ‘Shakespeare and Something Bookstore’ (very appropriate), and the following line came to me…

‘Is this a new moon in the old desert, or am I just rising to the occasion?’ Since, I’m approaching maybe 5,000 poems! I guess ‘we’ arose to the ‘occasion’—at least in terms of quantity!

And here are just a few that we’ve written recently… Most on my trip to Shanghai, via Uremqi and three days on a Chinese train (talk about Chinese torture).

‘On a Chinese Train!’

I ‘red’ ‘Othello’
On a Chinese train!
No, not a drop of rain
Did fall!
All else
Going down the drain!

Talking, talking, talking
Rushing through the brown
Not stopping,
Noodles all around!

Silence, golden!

Listen, listen, listen
To the ‘clackity, clack’
Riding on your back
Some into jail,
Some so free,
Imprisoned!

I, ‘Of a fellow,’
Born of Shakespeare,
Oh dear,
On a Chinese train!




‘ A Chinese Sindrome!’

Chi-nice,
The rice,
Please, no slice but,
¬∑≤Ó
Milk and sugar,
For me!

Belted all the same,
What a game!
‘Noodled’
‘Doodled’
Radio controlled,
With a small screen!

Ideograms,
Eaten the rams,
The Green Tao,
How, now brown cow!

Bumping, pushing, shouting,
Too many ‘rats in this cage,’
The world’s stage!
A Chinese Sindrome!

‘Here!’

What is it to be alive?
And strive?
For what?

When I’m dead
I’ll just not be ‘hear,’
Oh dear, but where
Without a care?

The sadness…
The feeling…
That’s alive!

No sadness…
No feeling…
Not ‘hear’
But, ‘their,’
Where is
Death?




While ‘hear,’ understand!
What?
Life?
Why,
The Fife?

The unknown to contemplate,
Life is great
While you’re ‘hear,’
Where?

Here!

‘’Forever!’

The 2 ‘wholes’ of desire
Pants on fire,
Mouth ablaze,
Feeding a frenzy!

Get control of both,
‘Won’ at a time!
First below,
Then above,
Do it with love!
Then fast!
You will last
Longer!

‘One’ doesn’t ‘no,’
Right off the bat,
Getting fat,
Lying around dying!

Epiphanies cure,
The wood made soft,
The mouth agape,
The Rape
At last,
Living
Forever!

‘On the day I die!’

On the day I die,
I’ll eat an apple
Walk to the ‘sight,’
With all my might!



I’ll feel the dirt
Below my skirt
On which I sit becoming
Inert,
Keeping the rain at bay
Someday!


I’ll listen to the birds
Singing,
The ringing in my ears,
Louder and louder,
Smiling my face!

I’ll watch the sun set,
My life over the hill,
Without a pill
Passing!

I’ll be sitting erect
‘It’ in my mouth,
Sucking,
A rape of sorts,
Happening!

On the day I die!

‘My enlightened Ways!’

I like the old ones,
The ‘stove-up wons,’
The bold,
The unsold,
A bright moon,
A dark sight!
Must be my age!
The gage, on ‘empty!’

Youth likes the young
The undone,
Fresh and fair
They do to dare,
Tempting our care!

Now dribbling
Like a fool
Excretions from every port
I report,
I make sport of ‘there’ sort!


Once sweet,
I went to meet
Hard as a rock,
Now dirty the sock,
Stinking,
I cover such
With gall
And defend
My enlightened ways!

‘Everyone with their say!’

The land sleeps
Under a white blanket
Resting until dawn,
Every day a miracle!

From its womb,
Comes the tomb,
Recycled into each other!
Night and day,
Day and night,
Spinning a delight!

No more we ‘k(no)w’
That which we sew!
Weaving a blanket
White,
How beautiful the sight!

The water flowing
Children growing,
We arise and succumb!
Beating the drum!
Our hour on the stage,
Written on a page!

‘O come join me!’
Under my blanket,
To rise again,
With each new day!
Everyone with their say!

‘The We of Three!’

A difficult ‘berth’
Being born anew,
A state of understanding
You,
Consciousness,
Mirth!

Now, where am I,
But at ‘we,’
The nee of three!

Numbers,
Names,
All but games,
To get beyond!
Stop thinking,
The drinking of ‘duali-two!’

Listen to that sound
All around
In your head,
Not the dread,
But, the internal said!

‘One’ should un-focus
The eyes
Before s/he dies!
Gazing at all,
Simultaneously!

Alla,
Ahya,
Ayha!

The We of Three!

‘Po-e-tree,’ the ultimate in ‘text!’ and better than ‘sext,’ rhyming! Prose is trying to explain, poetry trying to ‘un-explain,’ ours deconstructing language. Get beyond words, like ‘life,’ the pursuit of… Getting you ‘their!’ Ah, but ‘where?’

It’s an ineffable mystery, we try to explain in many different ways! Science, really a ‘religion’ one way, but they’re only guessing!

Now, here in Kashsigar , I’m in my room at the Xinibagh Hotel, room #324! I’m relaxing enjoying being alone, when suddenly loud ‘knocking,’ at the door. So, annoyed I started yelling, as if you don’t open the door instantly, they bang louder and more frequently! So, she was surprised when I opened the door, this Uyghur woman. Then in Uyghur, as if I’m supposed to understand, something which I did not, and then trying to peer beyond me as if I were hiding something from her! The unwashed and unconscious, so funny to me! They’re like children in their innocence! I need to find a ‘pierre de terre,’ (sic) somewhere on the earth, where I will not be disturbed! This, far, far from the ‘madding crowd!’

I am the doves flying in circles, their white wings flashing! No one notices Me—just wanting something!

My trip to Shanghai, ‘higher land,’ ‘lower,’ and green, ‘lower,’ and warmer, ‘lower,’ and more people… 22 million in fact! But, at Zentral (restaurant) I had wonderful, healthy food every day. So, always and again in Duality… Some of which you like, some of which you detest!

So, now to my notes about such, this retro look, as I’m back now in the ‘Land of Singing and Dancing,’ and banging on doors, and stealing (they’re now stealing things off my bicycle)!

I remember the crowded waiting rooms at the train stations… I hope to God I never travel by train during ‘Spring Festival’ in Chinagain. Wow!

I read an amazing statistic that I can hardly believe, that 2 BILLION (not million, but billion) trips were taken by all of us living in China during this period (roughly 30 days during the Lunar New Year!).

I was lucky in some ways, however, as I couldn’t get a ticket out of ‘Higher Ground!’ (Shanghai). This was fortuitous for me, because a big snow storm swept out of the north west and prevented trains from moving until the tracks were plowed. Thus, travellers were trapped in the trains stations, hours, days. I saw a photograph of 100,000 people (small crowd in China) trapped in the West Beijing Station and for 24 hours. How would you like this? Can you imagine the toilets? No food, water supplies running out, children crying, yelling and screaming, tempers flaring !

In the Shanghai station waiting to depart, a Chinese couple had a fight, the wife (or woman) losing control and consequently subdued by police! She was carried screaming and yelling while hundreds, including me, partook of this drama!

Always during holiday periods, whether in China or the West, emotions are more intense. I don’t know what this fight was over, but the woman was not happy with the man! Nothing new here, just in Chinese! I would love to know what about, and the outcome?

I can only imagine what it’s like to be married to a Chinese man. I read somewhere where many Chinese woman want to marry ‘foreigners!’ Little do they know that marriage is not the solution!

Then the mad dash to the train, to claim as much baggage space as you can, and stake out ‘your territory!’ Interesting, the ‘too-many-rats-in-the-cage’ syndrome, and how you respond. You become more aggressive! You end up pushing and shoving also!

I think, however, this is the last time for a ‘hard berth,’ even though I get a lower (on the floor) one. What happens… The other four people above, with no where to sit, end up sitting on your berth. It all gets very ‘cozy,’ in China! Usually, this is not a problem. Actually, where an old, white American man is concerned, they’re very differential—careful with my space. Of course, I never complain! Although, the other day…

I tried to explain ‘personal space’ to my Uyghur friends… ‘Bil mi dim!’ You see, people in Asia, are ‘bee hive’ oriented. They grow up with no personal space, so they assume everyone else in the ‘hive’ is the same way. One of the Uyghur men had just taken my gloves to try on! I tried to explain that in the West, one doesn’t do that kind of thing, it would be considered rude without asking… ‘Bil mi dim!’

I’ve learned that other ‘groups’ (in this case Chinese and Uyghur) speaking a little English, but don’t really understand it. Like I speak some Chinese and Uyghur, but I’m sure I don’t understand the meaning! I just babble, like they a social way of interacting.

The travellers on the trains, however, they were in a ‘party’ mood (‘Spring Festival’) and there was much laughter! Maybe I’m getting to be an old, crotchety white man!

It took 47 hours from Shanghai to Uremqi, on this ‘fast train!’ God only knows how many cups of noodles were consumed by the 1,000, or so travellers, most of which Chinese (some Uyghur). Out of the one thousand, I’ll bet I was the only white man!

‘Tom,’ (Xu Tan), my new, young Chinese ‘assistant,’ didn’t meet the train, but was outside the gate waiting! Laden, I was happy to see his smiling face! He took my bags, and had a hotel room waiting! Outside we were accosted by a young man, who spoke English. He turned out to be ‘Vasyl,’ a young (22-year old) man from the Ukraine, returning to school in Poland. He’d just visited his girlfriend in Shang Hai. In fact, was on the same train as I. He needed help, and I was only glad to oblige, as it’s ‘my duty!’

We ended up in a different hotel, the one where Dilmurat and I had helped the German man find the park in Uremqi, this several months ago. But, I remember the hotel, and wanted to check the rates. ‘Tom’ (Xu Tan) had booked me into another, for 60RMB. Options, always have options when travelling!

At this other hotel, first they wanted 120RMB, but when we were going to depart, as too expensive, it was reduced to 80. And splitting that with Vasyl, it was but 40RMB. And it had a private bath with hot water!

We spent the next so many hours trying to help Vasyl buy a bus ticket to Kazakstan.
I remember after running around Uremqi in a taxi, feeling slightly disoriented. But, interesting as always, as I learned about buses and trains to points west (Kazakstan and Russia in particular). I was hungry and ‘dead set,’ on eating either ‘poluo’ or ‘zhao fan’ (friend rice). But, not so easy with ‘Spring Festival’ on and we had to try several restaurants before finding mi fan (boiled rice)! I’m sure Vasyl thought I was crazy as his ‘tastes’ are limited to bread, peanut butter, and (I find out later.) the Uyghur ‘poluo.’

It was late before we got back to the hotel, 12 midnight and very late for me to be up. Both Vasyl and I ‘crashed,’ happy to be in beds that didn’t move! Thank God, he didn’t snore!

The next day I had some errands, and Vasyl was still trying to figure out how to get home. I remember the Bank of China twice, a Uyghur restaurant, where we all ate poluo (Vasyl was happy). But, the ‘friendly’ Uyghur owner ripped me off by over charging me 34 RMB (for three meals)—normally maybe 27 at the most! I didn’t complain, however! But, I’m beginning to be more wary of Uyghurs (the ‘so-called’ oppressed people in Xinjiang Province of Turkish origin).

Now, they’re stealing things off my bicycle! ‘No good!’ I said to the Uyghur attendant (at the Xinibagh Hotel where this is happening). So far just minor stuff, my pump, and a bottle of orange juice. But…

It makes me sad when people steal from me, especially those I’ve helped! Sadness the feeling, that mankind, so driven for ‘things’ (money) he steals from his fellow man! It’s not that I couldn’t prevent it, get angry and be an asshole, like most ‘rich people.’ But, I don’t want to! I know it’s the capitalistic system, now enflaming the masses in China to desire more! Certainly, the State doesn’t take care of the people anymore, like they did, ironically under the Communist system! The poor Uyghurs see things like my bicycle and ‘envy’ me! I’m a ‘rich American!’ Ah, let’s steal from him!

I don’t know really how to deal with this, I guess I will have to take precautions, inconveniencing myself (as always). I could sleep with my bicycle. But, then hauling it up and down three flights of stairs every day! But, ultimately, you do what you have to do, trying not to hate the masses for what they are… Unconscious, uneducated, poor, and basically struggling to survive!

I wish sometimes I didn’t have a heart, that I didn’t feel so much! Maybe it’s easier to be a rich ‘prick?’

In China, there’s more of the ‘jungle,’ mentality! Surviving, competing, for even the basics, with 1.3 billion people is challenging—and every year more and more people. The minorities, of course, they are definitely disadvantaged in China (everywhere actually), and interestingly, they are not restricted to the ‘one-child-per-married couple’ law! So, what do they do… They have more children, they’re not able to feed!

What’s the word for ‘stupidity?’ ‘Unconsciousness!’ They simply don’t know any better! What’s the solution, Jim, and Hank? Consciousness! Peace is consciousness!

Nothing new here! But, ‘those who do not know ‘history’ (consciousness) are condemned!’

I suppose this is the reason I don’t have much hope for wo/mankind… It seems to me, being a student of history, that there hasn’t been much progress in the last 100,000 years! I think we will kill ourselves off, before reaching the point, where we need to be!

But, the greatest of all philosophical questions, ‘When the last wo/man succumbs, we will have been ‘here’ at all?’ Think about that before answering!

And me, a white American… I have plenty! I’m wealthy compared to the Uyghur people, and most Chinese! And wealthy in every way, in ways they wouldn’t understand!

What to do?

Live the best life you can, without hurting other living things (like animals). I think part of the Uyghur bad karma is that they’re rabid meat eaters (killers of animals)! It is their sheep that will ‘inherit the earth!’

Sunday, February 05, 2006

05 February 2006 The Daily Dosage

Post ‘Shang Hai-visa and business / Uremqi trip’… Back in ‘God’s Country!: Xinjiang Province,’ China) I feel like I’m home in Kashgar, strange…!


Yesterday, ‘Indy’ and her friend were there at the train station to greet me, and help with too much luggage. I could barely carry: back and front packs, three heavy pieces of hand luggage and the bicycle wheel. I looked like the ole ‘Missouri mule’ that I am!


I had had, however, a nice quiet ride in my ‘hard sleeping berth,’ #38 (car #10) from Uremqi. This in contrast to the other recent train rides, as I was in a different kind of car (2 levels) and smaller ‘stall’ (only two bunks). I was separated from the raucous celebrating Chinese and thankful for it.


And from now on I think I’m going to pay the extra for a ‘soft sleeping berth,’ where you can close a door (get away from the crazy energy). Plus, you share with four not six people! And ‘Vasyl’ (new Ukrainian friend) said that most times there are less people than four, because of the cost). I also learned that from Uremqi to Shanghai it costs something like 900RMB / $115U.S. versus the 629RMB / $80U.S. for a ‘hard,’ (exposed) trip. Trust me, the additional $35U.S. worth it to me!


It must be my age and disposition, but I find it trying to be ‘party’ to so much noise and congestion (normal to Chinese).


From the Kashigar train station we drove immediately to the Xinibagh Hotel, where they (friend Hu and Indy) had arranged some kind of deal for me. I checked-in with a large Uyghur man at the ‘caretaker’s office,’ (?) as compared to the front desk. I’m paying only 30RMB / $4 U.S. per, but in a ‘common’ room with three beds (all furniture and no space). He said, however, that in a couple days, I’d be able to move in a ‘single room’ for 50RMB. Privacy is important to me but he almost ‘guaranteed’ that there would be no one else sharing the ‘common’ room with me. But, we’ll see… In the meantime, I have saved 60 RMB.


The room (#324) turned out to be not so great (dirty for one thing), but with several advantages over Semans Hotel (where I stayed the first time in Kashigar). It has a hot-water shower, south-facing window (sun), a good bed, and the best of all… It’s quiet (no KTV karaoke below!) So, again, you get some things, but never everything! Life is a trade off. I suppose I could pay 500RMB per night and get just about everything I wanted, but then I couldn’t donate so much to the street people!


Yesterday, walking from the Xinibagh to Eversun’s Restaurant (roughly two kilometers) I was able to give away 15 RMB. I also stopped at my favorite Chinese laundry to deliver mine! Amazingly, it was open (this during ‘Spring Festival’ when most businesses are closed).


This was the last ‘party’ night of ‘Spring Festival’ and everyone out and selling/shopping, just like any celebrating group! Very festive in China this time of year, fireworks going off everywhere!


The Chinese invented gun powder nee fireworks (the Chinese love noise), and particularly during Spring Festival! Note, in spite of whatever you hear… People are basically happy in China!


It kinda reminds me of my youth, when we would be visiting grandparents in Springfield, Missouri during the Fourth of July. In the 1950s in America you we were able to torch fireworks ourselves! Here the kids are setting them off under your feet, just like we did way back when! However, no longer in America, as ‘dangerous’ they say! The American Government thinking of our safety, of course… Sure! If you believe that, you also believe in the tooth fairy!


The Christmas tree was still up in Everson’s Coffee Restaurant. But, now the decorations more for ‘Spring Festival,’ than Christmas, all red and Chinese. Note: The color red very important in Chinese mythology, that of good luck and fortune!


I’ve worn a red woolen scarf for years!


It’s warmer here in Kashigar than in Uremqi, some 1,000 KM / 600 miles to the northeast (and a 23-hour train ride / 18 days on a bicycle). Yet, there’s also ‘yue’ piled up. (Note: Snow in Chinese: 月? I ask the question about the Chinese character of my Chinese friends as there are so many homophones in the Chinese language?) ‘Yeti there’s yue,’ the start of a poem…


It’s so much drier here in south Xinjiang Province, that’s one of the first things your body (skin) will ‘tell you.’ (bring moisturizer). The sun is also potent (bring ‘sun block’). Thus, you don’t feel the cold air temperature, as much as you do in Shang Hai or Uremqi.


So, there I was in ‘Eversun’s Coffee’ Restaurant, noting how many customers (more than usual)… I’m sitting waiting for my usual ‘zhau fan’ (扎反?) or fried rice, when over the speakers comes a memorable song for me, ‘Moon River!’ I was shocked! Can you imagine…? I’m in Kashgar, a city with a 2,000-year old history, or Marco Polor’s Silk Road and a New-York-City-kind-of song is played in a Chinese restaurant! This song has always been one of ‘mine,’ like Paul Simon’s ‘Still Crazy After All of These Years!’ as it has such meaning, the lyrics…


‘Moon River,’ first heard via a movie entitled, ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ was the movie/song that got me to New York City. This first seen/heard in Tucson, Arizona, in 1958! ‘Moon River, wider than a mile, I’m crossing you in style someday!’ and I did: I remember working for ABC in 1967, in New York City, delivering a film to the New Jersey side of the Hudson River in a Limousine! I’ll never forget this, as long as I live, as it symbolized that I’d ‘made it!’ Note: everyone along the way had said this was ‘impossible!’ to work for a television network in New York City! Nothing is impossible. Or, as is on Chinese Ads now, ‘Impossible is nothing!’


Johnny River lyrics included ‘…There’s such a lot of world to see!’ I went on to do just that too… see the world!


How many of you remember, Johnny Rivers? Maybe Marty? Audrey Hepburn? Many will remember her, as the ‘classy’ Hollywood actress of the 1950s and 60s. She played ‘Holly Go Lightly,’ the erstwhile and zany young woman in ‘Breakfast at Tiffanys!’ This opposite George Peppard, and Angela Lansberry? Marty, help me out here?


I actually bought a bagel and a ‘regulaar!’ and ate it inside Tiffany’s at 57th St. and Fifth Avenue (in New York City)! So, I had ‘breakfast at Tiffany’s’ one morning! ‘… I’m crossing you in style someday!’


‘Still crazy after all of these years!’ another one of my ‘theme’ songs, having been driven ‘mad,’ working in network television. Luckily, I orchestrated (unconsciously) getting kicked out, ‘going mad,’ all a part of the lesson!


Life is interesting… You strive to get somewhere without really knowing what’s it’s all about (especially when young)! There was nothing that would stop me ‘succeeding’ in those days! But, then once there, I discovered it was all a ‘pile of shit!’ Luckily, I had a good nose!


‘Two roads diverged in a wood one day! I took the one less traveled! It’s made all the difference!’ (Robert Frost).


F. Alexander Hutchison happily back in the ‘land of singing and dancing!’

Hutch

Haqi (Chinese version: ‘cycling happily’)

哈 驰

Kunlun (second Chinese name: ‘great strength and high mountains’)

昆仑

The Dragon (third Chinese name: “mystical ‘beast’ of good fortune”)