And I suppose next on my list of updates is the Yushu trip. This will bring us up to the present time as I am sitting here in Xining waiting till two days from now when I will officially begin teaching English. This will be, as I have said in my emails, limited to the weekends and I will be working on less legal things during the weekdays. I am taking over this to allow Eugene the chance to take his family on a much needed trip back to the states and Peru.
The trip to Yushu began in a sleeper bus on a 14 hour ride down to south central Qinghai. Arriving in late morning after much hassle I managed to find a ride out to Zaduo, the town I was to work in that night. I was crammed in a van with seven other men who by pure coincidence all happened to be chain smokers. No sooner was one cig done then the pack was opened and another taken out. I breathed enough smoke to become a nicotine addict on that trip and had to fight off withdrawals the next few days. Not really but almost.
We arrived in Zaduo as it began to draw dark which marked 24 straight hours of travelling. I checked into a little hotel with no electricity except when the lights flickered on and then back off every now and again. The lady who owned the hotel had about five little munchkins who were thrilled to have a foreigner under their roof(in case you are wondering why she had more than one child the policy only applies to the Han Chinese majority and not to the minority groups in China). They were for the first hour running in and out of my room at will. A little boy about seven and a girl about five were especially interested in hanging out. The little girl brought her dolls and toys to show me and the little boy was ceaselessly rattling off the only English he knew. Which were the happy birthday and ABC’s songs and “my name is” and “My English teacher is very smart.” The first time he said the latter phrase I had to laugh thinking about an English teacher picking that sentence to teach his kids. I think I might take his example when my turn comes around…
The little guy and I went down the street to a little restaurant to eat and while waiting taught each other English and Chinese. This particular town was quite small and I do not believe there were any buildings above two stories at all. The area of Qinghai I was in was definitely Tibetan and the only Chinese people I saw in the whole town were the restaurant owners. That night I arose and got ready to do the crumbing.
Upon going out after only about twenty minutes a dog walked up to me and was very curious what these little things were that I was throwing everywhere. I stopped to pet him and he became my night-long friend, following me for over an hour and a half all over the town. This was a welcome change as it gave me someone to talk to. In reference to the circumstances we met under I christened him Lex Rex. Not after the popular dog name but after the book by Samuel Rutherford that argues against the concept of the divine right of Kings and that the King is subject as any other man to the Law of God. We were out tract-bombing in disobedience to an unlawful order of the Chinese government and thus it is null and void as Samuel argued in the book. So Lex Rex was my guard-dog for the night. And a good one at that.
I accidentally overslept the next morning and had to scramble to get out of town. Going down to the street I caught a bus two minutes before it rolled out and was safe and on my way back to Yushu. Upon arrival I immediately bought a ticket back to Xining for the next day. We had planned that I would hit another town in that area but as funds were running low I had to get back home. The only bus available was leaving at noon which is not optimal but I wanted anything to get out of there before my deeds done in the darkness would be brought to light. Crumbing went well that night and 600 pieces went out. The trip back to Xining was uneventful other than being two hours longer than I had hoped. Arrived back at home, sweet home at 2:45 in the morning. That night was only the third night I had spent at home even though I have been living here for two weeks. The road has taken many nights but hallelujah for that!!!
Throughout all this time our apartment had been having plumbing issues and the water had been going on and off. Matt, the young fellow who boards in the same flat as I, had to take care of most of this because I was away. It was an awesome welcome to China experience for him. The utilities and internet over here are not nearly as reliable as the states and even as I sit writing this our electricity has gone out for the second time in 36 hours.
The next day after arriving I had an experience which reminded me of some of our times of preaching on college campuses and having to run after students who stole our signs and the like. I went to an internet café to catch up on email. I was typing calmly and very focused on what I was doing. Then a young man about 20 years of age walked by me, picked up my cell phone, which was sitting two inches from my hand, and walked away as if he had a right to it. After one second of questioning the reality of what he had done I stood up and yelled at him to give it back. He did not and so I gave chase hollering at the top of my voice all the while. Picture the scene. We are in a internet café with tons of computers at its peak hour of business. Every seat is full and every person is busy at what they are doing. Then they look up and a crazy foreigner is racing down the aisles in hot pursuit of a chinaman screaming at the top of his lungs. But to me the rest of the world had gone black and I was not thinking of anything but catching up to the man in front of me. We raced out the door and were descending the stairs and I was reaching out to grab him, having caught up by this time, when he hurled the phone down and raced on. I had the crazy thought of apprehending him and calling the cops but checked myself and picked up my phone.
Only when re-entering the internet café did I remember everyone else. The whole place was staring at me, giggling and pointing. That was ok for awhile though. I was more than happy to have provided the evening’s entertainment. I held my phone high and signified that I had got it back and the approval of the crowd for my actions was obvious. I left shortly after, the continual giggles and pointings and stares were getting a little tough even for a hardened veteran to this such as myself. I have been mocked by people most of my life but a giggling horde of Chinese women beats all.
There is one more development that I will mention. Three floors above me in the apartment building there is a Chinese girl who asked if I could help her with her English. So just today we spent some time going over her English and she in turn is helping me with my Chinese. I feel like a little child again being taught how to write my ABC’s. Invigoratingly humiliating is the way I will describe it.
My father will be arriving to work over here in a few days. He is coming over to do some crumbing with us along with my bro Gabriel. To say I am looking forward to that is an understatement perhaps deserving of a smack to the face. We are going to hit the streets and do battle together. This will be the first time since I came a month and a half ago that I have tract-bombed with someone else. The Lone Ranger I have been as I seem to have lost Tonto on the flight over. So it will be a welcome change.
All glory to the Rock of ages who gives us everything worth having!!!
May He receive the reward of His suffering!!!
For the King!!!