Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Tuesday, August 07, 2012


Eventful couple of days. I left the mountain yesterday morning. Sunday evening, I was sitting around the coal heating stove with some of the other guests having sort of a "good bye" conversation.

There were both Tibetans and Han people, but everybody could speak at least a little Mandarin. My Mandarin isn't that great, but I can get by in casual conversation. One of the staff from the youth hostel said, "Old Wang thinks it's really bad that there are no churches in this village." I said, "That's right. There is only one Christian in this village, and that's me." One of them said, "Why don't you come here and start a church?" Then the Tibetan guy I had been talking to said, "If you be my teacher, I will be your student." These folks are really open. But with nothing for religion but two Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and one Hui Muslim mosque, there isn't a lot of light in this community. Buddhism, especially, has really become corrupted in recent years. You don't see monks praying much anymore. They are mostly taking money. But there are a lot of nice guys among them. It's just that the system they are part of is becoming very money oriented. If you want to enter a monastery, you must buy a ticket. But if you tell the monk that you have no interest in the monastery, you just want to hike in the canyon, they still try to get money from you. They are rather ruthless, actually. I still haven't figured out what level of authority they have been given by the local government to do this, but they seem to be getting by with it.

I got to the village where Jessica has her summer school after the kids had gone home for the day, so we went to find a place for me to stay. The first time I stayed in that village back in 2006, I stayed in a little village guest house. But they built a hotel back in 2007, and I have stayed there since then. Yesterday when I got there, it looked really old. The manager said, "Look around and find a room you like, and then come back and tell me the number." Of course, every room was filthy. So the idea is, you find the least filthy room, and then move in. Pathetic.

At dinner, I told Jessica that I might have to leave early the next day so I could get back to Lanzhou and find a dentist. My mouth was really swollen and not feeling good at all. She said, "Oh, we have a dentist." I said, "You have a dentist? Here? In this village?" Turns out the guy had just graduated from dental school and decided to come back and help his home village. They called him and he told us to meet him at his office after dinner. When he first examined me, he said he was just going to clean the infection and give me some antibiotics, but after he started working on my teeth, he said the infection was too serious, so he needed to drill my tooth so it could drain. I sure felt a lot better when he got finished. I had been wondering how I was going to be able to get any sleep last night. But I slept like a baby. This morning I went back to see him and he checked over my teeth again and cleaned the infection. Somehow, God always gives me just what I need when I need it.

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