As told by Markus Tong:

“I was guiding a group of people through the Tibetan highlands near Lhasa. we stopped at a village and walked around. We met a young boy, who was selling a piece of paper with Buddhist script and paintings on it. He asked for Y20, I got him down to Y14. We gave him the only bill we had, a Y100. He said he had to roll out to get change. We said ok, and hung out in the village. Half an hour later, we figured he had ditched us, so we got in the bus and prepared to leave. As we were about to pull away, another young boy ran up and stopped us. He gave us Y86. Then he said his friend had been hit by a car crossing the road and had begged him to take the money back us.”

Markus got emotional toward the end and almost broke down and cried. The group of German tour operators he had been guiding through Chengdu were moved. All but two, who basically ignored the story, their minds on the logistics of the next day. In case you’re wondering, Markus is as Han Chinese as they get.

Who knows?

Earlier, Tibetans from Kham and Aba were trading golden Buddhas and daggers for cash-money and other needful things in the antique market. Their customers are gringos and chinese. All was good. In the Tibetan district there are still popo on the block, but monks stroll by in red robes, fingerin beads, checkin out monk gear. On the ride home tonight, the cabbie went off on the government. Diggin into his pocket, pissin him off. Wants a multiparty system. The tv spits out lies all day.


Finally headed home after eight days of “power tourism.” Yeah i had dreams of leading people through the wilds for a second there, but the experience singed me. I am down to take my peoples, don’t get me wrong. And even absolute strangers if they exhibit hobo sensibilities, craftsmanship, ingenuity or any other sort of clever behavior. Radiant behaviour. Warming and above all a curious nature. all comedians are allowed. Bards get a free pass, as do those with bottomless pouches.

But failing to display characteristics of the above persuasions or failing to introduce to me new and exciting ones … and … you know, sorry. naw. can’t do it. Not long term anyway.

Its just draining. But it is interesting how close people get when they travel together for a while, even if they come from very different parts of the social web. I made good friends on this trip. At least when we left each other at the airport, the feelings and emotions were sincere. We had “did it together.” I felt the same thing when i left the cannery, football team and those brothers who shivered with me in Thailand … my main men, johnny and ryan … aka blacktoe and the doc. Repeatedly burning at the stake with people … burn once yer connected, burn twice your bound, burn thrice your brothers, burn again your immortal.

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Sascha Matuszak

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