I didn’t know you were here

“In India there is only the white business – that is the garment”, the dealer says, and between his thumb and index finger he rubs the sleeve of his t-shirt, “or the black business – that is the hashish.” He grins and hands me a joint. We sit in a concrete courtyard surrounded by half […]

Hong Kong Ghetto

“Here, brother, you smoke, brother!” A guy from Bangladesh with a moustache, two golden chains and a golden earring, hands me a joint he just rolled. Legs and arms akimbo, pupils wide, he yells: aye mama!, and runs away towards a couple of girls. A big Indian man looks at me and rolls his eyes. […]

Thirty years ago, the Chinese have started an experiment in a townlet of 30.000 inhabitants, called Shen-zhen, which means Deep-ditches, through which water streamed on to the rice fields. The communists placed borders around the townlet and decreed a free market within. Not because there’s a problem with planned economy, God forbid, but, rather, to […]

Suddenly, I heard myself cursing the highway. For three days I’ve traveled on a snaky road that either coiled on rivers or crawled on mountains. Above me, a mega-highway was piercing cliffs and cutting through valleys on immense pylons. People were flying across the mountains at 150km/h in comfortable, air-conditioned cabins while I hurdled through […]

Finally, we’re surrounded by mountains, not by a sea of Chinese people. We have some room to breathe, lie down under the open sky and talk about home. Christian comes from a little town in East Germany. We both grew up during the fall of the Communist regime, when our countries were opening up to the world. […]

Are you rich?

Hold the flashlight into the water: it’s clean. Yes! For 2000 kilometers we’ve been looking for a place like this: Nanshui Lake. In the dark, we climb the rocks along the shore to find a place to sleep. Cut some reed, put the sleeping bags on top: that’s a bed. Two fishermen pass by, barely […]

We arrived in China all paranoid about being spied on, arrested, interrogated, deported or even worse. In Beijing we had to report to the police within the first 24 hours. When we we made our way on bikes towards south, people didn’t want to take us in in guest houses because we were foreigners, and […]

”I don’t feel free”, a young man suddenly tells me while we’re sharing a cup of tea. I’m stunned. It’s the first time I’ve heard a Chinese person talking about freedom. I tried to steer the discussions in that direction several times, but it seemed as if they pretended not to hear me and changed the […]

”Why do Chinese people plough the fields at night?”, I kept wondering when I saw how they were struggling with the lanterns, like some wingless fireflies. I thought it must be some ancient technique, because the Chinese were very advanced in agriculture before being humiliated by the industrialized countries. They built massive irrigation systems 2000 years ago, […]

It’s 30°C outside and the sun is damping my T-shirt as I pedal along palm trees. Three days ago, my hands were freezing on the handlebars – the temperature was close to 0°C, it was raining around the clock and we couldn’t stop, otherwise we would have frozen altogether. So we biked for 100 km through […]