We have arrived in Shu Cheng, Anhui. We got up at 3 AM to get to our flight on time, it is now 9:00 at night, I have had most of a bottle of red wine that Ling’s parents got for me so I wouldn’t have to drink Chinese alcohol, while doing continuous toasts at the dinner they arranged with their best friends to introduce us. I am exhausted and more than a bit overwhelmed.
Already I have nearly been hit by a few bikes because they were staring so hard at me (cries of “foreigner”) that they steered right in. I have signed an autograph, had a stint doing an endorsement as a local celebrity, and been given a Chinese name.
I’m not kidding.
I don’t even have the energy tonight to touch on how incredible Ling’s parents are, and how welcome I feel even though we don’t speak the same language. In a single day there are so many stories to tell.
This town is so small, there are only about 800,000 people in it — that’s why you get images like above.