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!



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