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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

An unexpected stop

So here I am at the internet at 11 a.m. on a beautiful hot day in Guilin, wasting away the daylight hours. And why? Because I seem to have picked up a bit of a stalker. Yea for me.

I left my hotel this morning and found a cheap little restaurant where I had some noodles with beef for 3 RMB. Then I went to the bus station to by my ticket for tomorrow, to a place called Sanjiang, about which I know nothing...not even if there is a hotel there.

Then I walked to one of the rivers in town, passing a shaded little area where there must have been 20 card games in action, with the average age of the players running somewhere around 60. I walked down to the riverside and watched as some women carrying baskets full of green vegetables took off their shoes and walked across the river, at a place where an elevated platform had been put in so that the water is only ankle deep. It looked nice, and I went by the water to take some pictures and to feel the water on my feet. Cool. I listened as a bamboo raft carrying people from across the other shore approached. A swoosh of water as the pole cut down. A click as it hit the bottom of the river. The silence as it was raised out and set back in to repeat.

I then walked across the river myself. Along the way, I heard someone approaching from behind and moved over a little to let the person pass. The person in question is a rather large girl of indeterminate age and questionable mental capabilities. She asked me where I am from and I said the usual. She asked me if America is nice. I said yes.

When I got to the other side, I spent some time putting my sandals on, noticing in my vision that the girl was standing there waiting. I took some pictures of the guy guiding an approaching raft. I chatted with him and still the girl was there. At last I walked up and straight away she started asking questions about if America might attack China or if Japan and China might go to war. I don't think so, I said. I hope not. Then she asked me again and again. Then she started going on about how she is going to America next year because George Bush is helping her go, or anyway that is my understanding of what she said. I told her over and over I don't understand. I walked faster. I walked slower. I changed my route. And still there she was chasing after, talking with an evermore breathless voice.

So then I got to where she was a good five yards behind me, and I went into an internet cafe thinking at least by the time I leave she will be gone and I will be able to see what the Bengals are doing.

And then, about 5 minutes later, here she comes, up the stairs. I turned away as soon as i saw her. She walked back out and then back in. Now, for the last half hour she has just been standing around waiting for me, at times coming up to see what I am writing. I have shooed her away like a fly, given her dirty looks and done about every possible get-the-hell-away-from-me type body language motion I can imagine. Now I have just asked one of the people working here to ask her to leave, and I don't see her. I imagine she will be waiting outside, and so perhaps I will have to use some of these bad words I have been learning. If this is not the occasion for it, I don't know what is.


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