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Beixiao River
Beijing, CN
2011.05.17

Don’t. Drink. The. Water.
2011.05.21

I realize that there doesn’t appear to be a narrative guiding the recent sequence posts. If you’re one of the tens of people that have managed to find yourself on this website (hello, creators), I promise that I’ll eventually get around to our trip to the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and the other things you want to read about.

In the meantime, this photograph comes from the neighboring village of Nan Gao. Nan Gao may, in fact, translate to something poetic and floral, perhaps evoking ancient gardens. We have begun using it as an adjective. For instance, if I say, “you smell like Nan Gao,” refer to Exhibit A at left and act accordingly (shower).

How putrid is this creek? Until recently, my travel companion, Jordan, has been a model of digestive resilience. A culinary adventurer, he has consumed everything  offered to him—all manner of mammal parts—as well as the tap water. It’s a bit of a macho trip, honestly. He enjoys galavanting about our more hesitant compatriots as something of an enlightened Westerner assimilating seamlessly with the local folk.

The morning after our trip to Nan Gao, Jordan woke up green-faced with stomach cramps. Coincidence? Probably not. Karmic? Likely. And definitely hilarious. Of course. Thankfully, I don’t share a bathroom with Jordan. I have to assume it smells like Nan Gao.