I imagine than more or less we all know some wild donkey. Someone who is dumb and unpredictable… May I recommend Carlo Maria Cipolla’s Essay “Basic Laws of Human Stupidity”. Cipolla was Italian, born in Pavia in 1922, and was professor of Economics in Italy and Chairman in Berkeley, and wrote, tongue in cheek, one of the essays that made him famous, that included the “Laws of Stupidity”:
1.) Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.
2.) The probability that a certain person (will) be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.
3.) A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.
4.) Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular non-stupid people constantly forget that at all times and places and under any circumstances to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake.
5.)A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person.
So, going back to the title of my post… How many “wild donkeys do we know”, people who causes losses to other persons, without getting no benefit?
This wild donkey affair comes from Ella and Peter trip following the south bank of Qinghai lake, then through a mountain pass arriving to Chakayan Lake and from there to the Dulan desert and its wild donkeys. Probably the sight of some wild donkeys is not enticing, but the trip is about going through roads less traveled.
Originally my trip plan consisted in staying for two or three nights at the Ta’Er lamasery, near Xinning, and going for one or two days to Qinghai Lake, in an organized tourist tour. My guide said that there are one day tours from Xinning to Qinghai Lake. You can stay overnight, or just go for a quickie :), rent a bicycle and see the dilapidated torpedo base, or take a trolleybus to visit a “Chinese-style” sightseeing village.
My previous plan was to take a High-Speed train to Golmud (the Sky Train, the trains which goes to Lhassa) and stay for several days in Golmud, radiating from there towards East (the caravan route), South (to see I do not know what), and then Northwest, towards Teijinar and the Desert Oasis. So, essentially, a disguised business trip. No adventure, major ports of call booked in advance.
But really, tourist buses and high-speed trains to follow Ella and Peter are not exactly what I dreamed for during 20 years.
So, right now I consider a Plan B, which consists in trying to find if there is some kind of public transportation along Road G109 (Qinghai Lake and Chakayan Lake and the East Bank of Dulan Desert). Really I doubt it, because one of the problems of Deserts is the lack of people who lives there :). And where there is no people… there is no public transport.
This opens a line of thought: what kind of travel I want to do? : A trip (not the “Taklamakan-tour-riding-a-bactrian-camel, plus-extra-night-in-a-mongol-yourt-with-traditional-mongolian-BBQ-and-dance-show” anyway) with fixed stops in major cities or a truly open trip, with a sleeping bag and no plans?
This is a major question, because empathy is really not a Chinese word, and I may lay stranded in some remote village: “this is a military zone, you must remain here until Beijing tell us what to do with you” (all this in Chinese, of course) with hotels forbidden to Gwailos (deprecatory for foreigners, ghost man) and sleeping in a dilapidated caravansary
One of the questions open right now, is: “How to go from Xining to Golmud, other than by camel caravan?”
But the truly important: “Will I really dare to forget how to travel as I have traveled all my life, the executive way”?
Photo credit: Panoramio: Wild donkeys in Dulan Desert
Central photo: a salted pond in Atacama, from the Author
Last photo: Panoramio, entering the Tsaidam Basin near G109