Wednesday July 30

Ray had somehow managed to roll out of bed in the morning and come with us on the hike. He had picked up two bottles of unmarked local wine and downed one during lunch. The other he drank on the bus. He kept hovering over Andy with his open bottle of wine. Andy was not happy.

Nate was not feeling so good in the morning, so I went on the final hike of the trip without him. Every couple hundred meters or so the river water collected in small swirling ponds. I kept pulling out Nate’s bulky camera in awe.

We followed the river to a monkey reserve, where we were told there would be some sort of show happening soon. As we climbed the steps passed the Macaques sign. In front of us were crowded cages filled with monkeys. My heart went out to them.

The wild monkeys in the trees were much less depressing. To be honest the wild monkeys put on a much better show then the trained ones we saw next.

The monkey trainer came in with two monkeys on strings, jerking them around by the neck when they hesitated to do the next trick. The poor things looked like they were carefully considering turning on their master, and once again the disgust took hold inside as I realized the term slave should not be reserved for humans.

Lulu’s son Alex, was laughing the loudest. The trainer suggested that the onlookers throw bottles for the monkeys to open. Alex laughed. He’d already gotten the monkey’s attention, and they did not look impressed. Alex started pelting the monkeys with candy. They both stood up on their hind legs and gave Alex one incredibly human death stare. The kid was lucky the trainer had a hold of their ropes.

I was happy to move on from that place and continue walking. About 20 minutes later we reached the piece de resistance, a spectacular waterfall tumbled down from way above us.

Water ran down the cliff and dripped over a horse shoe shaped cave/ tunnel below. The edge of the cave was crusted with stalagmites and stalactites. I walked through it, peering through the falling water back out to the trail we’d walked down.

We were able to climb a set of stairs that led to the upper portion of the waterfall. Leaving my bag and camera on dry grand I ran into the spray from the falls.

Ray sat with Nate and I in the back of the bus for a while. We were trying to distract him and keep him away from Andy if at all possible. He kept fishing for an invite to our wedding. I told him he could be our officiant. He wouldn’t drop the subject for the rest of the ride.

Ray did some epic readings from the book I was reading, and a few of Katrina’s poems. It was all going fine until we stopped for a bathroom break, and Ray came back on the bus with another bottle of wine. He spilt half of this one all over the bus isle, and somehow Nate managed to get the remainder of the bottle away from him. At the boarder Ray tried to run off to use the bathroom (which you are not allowed to do), and attracted a lot of security attention to us. Fortunately they let us through without issue.

Finally Ray passed out, and we had a few hours of much needed peace. We all thought he would be out for the journey, until, with only an hour left till home, he dramatically rolled out of his seat, into the isle, and landed on his head. Half conscious he stumbled back towards Andy, “Space Ray,” Andy kept repeating, “space.”

“WHY DO YOU HATE ME?” Ray yelled , “Do you hate me?” silence, “WHY DID YOU RANDOMLY DECIDE TO DO THIS?” silence, “Why do you hate me?” Ray bounced between angry and sad, throwing everything at Andy that he could think of. Andy’s simple repose was “space.” as Ray screamed “YOUR NOT COMING TO QINDAO WITH ME!”

It was good to get off the bus and away from the crazy man.

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