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One Evening Night in Korla

No nation, no ethnicity, is of no fault.

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Korla, August 17th 2012

Peng Li said she and her friend would come back fetch me at 9:00 PM Beijing time. I offered to treat her and Peng Lung dinner as a token of gratitude accompanying me to the train ticket booking office and bank. But Peng Li said her mother required her to have dinner at home. So she'll return after dinner. Thus, thinking that there's still like an hour or so, I walked the street near Jinyue Hotel. This is one of my best moments during traveling: Strolling along streets, in and out alleyways, and watch how the day go by (or start) in the neighborhood. Thus, I get the feel of the city.

Sometimes that's only what I get. The feeling. But many times I find something interesting like this evening exercise. Instantly my mind was swept back to my evening walk in Phnom Penh.

It was a nice place, not far from where the evening exercise was conducted. Street food, but clean. I ordered several sticks of grilled stuff. The cook was very friendly. He did his best to make me feel welcomed.

And then my Indonesian tummy inquired rice. "Méiyǒu," answered the cook. What?? You eat these without rice nor even noodle? I told my tummy, "This is Xinjiang-lah. Not Indonesia-lah." Luckily, my tummy listened.

I had no time to take a picture of my riceless meal, because I had to make a quick call to Mom. I had promised her to give her a call this night. She would be waiting. After that call, Peng Li called telling me that she was nearing my hotel. Oh well, still believing she was sincere, I gulped my food and half-ran back to Jinyue Hotel.

Peng Li's friend and his partner drove us to an amusement park. He paid the entrance tickets for us. I wanted to pay my share, but Peng Li didn't allow me. The park was pretty crowded. Peng Li said that it was the center of Korla's entertainment. That thing I could trust, because it looked so already.

Still traumatized by previous experience, I kept my 7D at the hotel and made this shot with G12. The view from this open air tower was just so and and so, I would say. It might be more spectacular in winter when covered by snow, I guess. Moreover, in winter there surely would not be mosquitoes like now. Making a slow shutter speed shot here was a challenge. Because you have to stay still, you know! That's your best position for mosquitoes to feast on. Peng Li said, in winter the temperature here reaches minus 40o C.


"Yes, forty!"

"Four zero?"

"Yes, four zero!"

"Not fourteen?"


Frankly, I doubt that. I checked weather underground dot com's weather history of Korla and could not find history of -40oC either. Not even close. -40oC would be more severe than Russia's coldest winter.

I bought my new friends a drink and then we drove off. Peng Li and I got off across Peacock River. The other two, according to Peng Li, were heading to a night club and Peng Li wasn't interested in that.

This is the same river as the one I mentioned in previous post about Bosten Lake. Peacock River runs through the center of Korla. This is it.

I saw people wading through the river and taking a swim. In winter, Peng Li said again, the river is frozen and people can walk across it. Well, that I believe. That's very likely. I even can picture in mind what a grand picture it would be here during winter.

There were some elderly Chinese men playing Chinese traditional music instruments by the side of the river. It was lovely. Now, traumatized by previous experience in Tuyoq Village, I asked Peng Li whether it's alright to take pictures of them. Sure, she answered. How much would I have to give, I asked again.

"What? You don't need to pay!"

"So they aren't performing for money??"

"No, they are just playing for fun."

Unfortunately, my recording of the performance failed.

It's funny, I think. These people did something that does have value -- their musical skill -- and yet they play for their own satisfaction. Other people's enjoyment is their reward. On the contrary, the kids in Tuyoq Village did nothing, but forced me to pay. Some people would have drawn a stereotype. I don't like stereotypes. Nevertheless, what I experience at times, often compels me to believe stereotypes. Watching these men performing such beautiful music inevitably drives my mind to my home country.

Daripada saya mencuri, lebih baik saya mengamen.
Instead of stealing, I'd better play music.

The thing is, those musicians in quotation marks who say such a thing, aren't playing music at all. They are just making noises and then ask for money.

The most disgusting thing:
Jauhkanlah kesombongan dari bapak ibu.
May you cast your arrogance away.

Should you call it arrogance if I don't want to give you money because I don't feel I've got something from you? Even worse, I feel bothered.

One morning, on my way to work, a tukang ngamen like this got on my bus. I refused to give him money. He got off and shouted at me, "Dasar loe Cina!" Something like "f*** you Chinese!" Oh well, come to China, and see for yourself, then. Yes, I'm Chinese, and I'm proud to be one.

However, my encounter with Peng Li, has proofed that no nation, no ethnicity, is of no fault. There's still another story about Peng Li tomorrow. In the end, there's only one stereotype: Men are sinners.

Back to Peacock River. I tried to make something with my G12. 还可以lah.

This is the bridge of the road that crossed Peacock River.

Back at the hotel, I took everything out from my backpack and purse. Item by item, sheet by sheet (like money, tickets, notes, ID cards), pieces by pieces (like batteries, pens) I spread on the carpet to get dry. This is a thing you probably won't do in a dormitory room, would you?

The wrinkles on my passport which I had just renewed, will tell the story for the next five years.

Good night, Korla.

Posted by automidori 01:27 Archived in China Tagged china xinjiang korla peacock_river kongque_river

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