it always hard for me to escape the monkey in this town. cuz i don’t try hard. the other night we were dancin to irish music, fully lickered up throwin each other and girls all around the bar — twirlin people and flippin each other and such. i received a massive bruise on my thigh, it is now purple and greenish. Joe the barkeep almost broke my neck. i found 2000RMB on the floor and put it in my pocket, there were only five or six of us in the bar at that point, though the din hinted at a gathering of much larger proportions.

a few of the monkey demons, past and present ….

the next day sammy and i woke early, as is our custom after an all night session of drinkin, and strolled down the couple of clicks to Cai Village, where all the mint in Yunnan is grown, to the shores of Erhai Lake. We walked with a strong wind at our backs, bending the mint and urging us forward. The mountains behind us were shrouded in sunlight, the lake was visible as a shimmering mirage of blue. a woman walked past is with two sloshing buckets of nightsoil for the fields. sammy and i shared a “hey thats shit” look and chuckled. about 100 meters later, the wind tickled our noses with pure human feces. she was far behind us heading toward the mtns, smiling to herself as the wind ripped the shit from her buckets and stretched it back a few hundred meters for us to investigate.

when we made it through the winding paths of Cai Village to the lakeshore, there was no beach. we laid down on someone’s porch and basked in the sun and the wind with the sound of lazy waves lapping the gnarled lake water trees.

the 2000RMB belongs to JP, a Quebecois roving bluegrass singer with a bandolier of twelve different harmonicas … you wanna know who brought the devil to Dali town? he’s the johnny-be-good of Dali this time around. havin him around released me from the pull of the devil. as long as he conjured up all of the djinns, then the rest of us could just whirl ourselves into oblivion, whooping all the way down … JP’s guitar a eulogy for our worries.

tomorrow we go to Shaxi Village where i will be checking out restoration projects, salt mines, silvermiths and old trade route outposts. For now, its back to the monkey, where scottie and carl wait with a merciless grin, plotting the next Mad One.

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Sascha Matuszak

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