Chinese Junk

In this crowded marketplace in China's far-off Gansu province, where the wind whips yellow sand in your eyes and the guttural Mongol dialect assaults your ears, a man with three fistfuls of beard on his weathered face and a white prayer cap on his head shuffles up politely and asks, "Are you a foreigner?" You admit that you are, and he smiles, eyes crinkling: "I am from the hills, up there." The mountains he is pointing to rise in the distance like a desolate mirage. You look at them and say they are beautiful, even though to you they look only...

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