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Moresby Meanders Observations From an Ongoing Journey

The Farcical Case of the Chicken Bought at Sunrise

CHINA | Saturday, 19 April 2014 | Views [954] | Comments [2] | Scholarship Entry

It was dark as we clambered over the tall, iron gate at the foot of the mountain. A guard stumbled out of a small hut, shining a torch in our direction.

"We want to see the sunrise on top of the mountain", my friend explained. He waved us on.

At the top we sat to take in the view, sunrise over Hangzhou. We sipped at a bottle of rice wine leftover from the night’s festivities. A few elderly folk appeared on the ridge. Morning exercise. A couple stopped to practice tai chi; the other came to chat with us. There were not often foreigners on top of the mountain at this time, he explained, as he shared a drink with us.

As the sun climbed higher, we decided to head home. Descending the other side of the mountain, farmers held a makeshift market, one vendor with six terrified chickens stuffed in a cage. I felt they knew of their impending doom. In a moment of compassion (or inebriation), I decided one should have a new lease on life.

"How much for a chicken?" I asked.

I paid as they shoved the animal head first into a blue plastic shopping bag.

Returning home I greeted Xifu, the master of our building. The chicken clucked nervously from within the bag. Rounding the back of the building, we released the bird. It strutted about happily. Xifu, usually calm and gentle, appeared at the corner of the building. Spying the chicken, he began waving his arms hysterically.

"No animals allowed!" He screeched.

We were to dispose of it immediately, but our feathered friend was not about to give up its newfound freedom easily. Squawking frantically, feathers flew as we dove, tumbled and snatched at the frenzied creature. Finally, sweaty but triumphant I clutched the bird by its legs. It flapped wildly as I reached over the tall concrete wall at the back of the block, releasing it into the tea fields beyond.

Retiring upstairs, I was woken by a knock at the door. Xifu, having earlier lost interest in our protracted pursuit of the offending fowl, peered enquiringly in the apartment door.

"Where’s the chicken?" He probed.

"It's gone, I threw it over into the tea fields"

He eyed me disbelievingly, as he pushed his way through the door.

"No chickens in the apartment!" He insisted, making his way between the rooms, opening doors and cupboards and peering under beds.

Finally, after a thorough investigation he relented.

"Ok, no chicken"

From that day Xifu would greet me with a wry smile, both of us never to forget the farcical case of the chicken bought at sunrise.

Tags: 2014 Travel Writing Scholarship - Euro Roadtrip



I really like how you ended your story.

  jmarie Apr 22, 2014 4:25 AM


Thanks jmarie, appreciate your feedback. I enjoyed your story about going to Iran. My wife and I are also having visa issues as is my sister and her husband. I am starting to think that we are better off for it. Anything that makes you do something new can't be a bad thing. Anyway, good luck with your move to Seattle!

P.S. Here's some photos of Iran I came across a few weeks back that I thought were nice:


  moresbbb Apr 22, 2014 7:42 AM

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