Sunday, January 06, 2008


Wearing Longunderwear in Northwest China

so we're finally in xinjiang province (the area darren studies).

we had a heel kickin' good time on the sleeper train from lanzhou to turpan. our bunks were shared with 3 elders & their doting escort. since we gave up our low bunks (they didn't look like such great climbers) they felt generally indebted the whole trip & tried to stuff us with food & cigarettes & filled our tea jug every few hours. before long it seemed the occupants of the entire car were trying to outdo each other with how much they could get us to accept.

it was really a great way to see the country too - change from dust-bowl city to deserty stuff (but darren says it's not really desert yet - it does a pretty good job of pretending to be desert i think though).

in the train station the man next to us prophecied that we are going to have a baby girl after we visit xinjiang. then last night i dreamt that we adopted a little girl named peggy jo. she was 4 and had pretty severe developmental delays but i became utterly devoted to her. go figure.

if a tibetan monk asked you "what is the meaning of the song 'jingle bells'?" what would you say?

i like xinjiang. we spent today at a little town in the flaming mountains (that's really what they're called - i'm not waxing poetic - promise). it looked every bit like i always imagined bethlehem to be like. and so i kept humming "away in a manger" which drove darren nuts. and then the shepherds kept yelling at us (but it turns out they were really yelling at the sheep most of the time). but that put "my sheep know my voice" echoing through my brain (and straight out my lips much to darren's chagrin).

then i got really fantastically depressed at how male dominated this culture seems (imagining myself silently ducking in and out of corners for the rest of my life) and didn't snap out of it until we went to our favourite restaurant in the market (the women there didn't seem oppressed at all - even looking darren in the eye, etc,etc). we practiced our faltering uygur & they pretended like we did a half baked job at it. very good times were had and now our future is looking bright and clear once again.

so now we will go to our cozy little hotel room that doesn't smell too badly like toilet bowl after you've been there for a while. we will sit and laugh till we cry at chinese TV (where teams of children weep after losing their relay races by a tenth of a second one after another, and there are endless replays of incredibly bad singing contests, & swooping sunshiny songs about\n chinese unity and the colourfullness of minorities - all looking ecstatic to have the uncanny luck of being annexed by china).

so good night one and all,



Blogger Meredith said...

Jen, it seems you're really doing well with not complaining. I liked that way you emphasized your room doesn't smell like toilets after you're there for awhile. Is Darren impressed with your lack of complaining? Peggy Jo really sounds like a Chinese name! ~Mom

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