Take No Notice – a short story from China.

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After a happy, prolonged period of stabilisation and life-altering romance, I finally bid farewell to Belgium in the summer of 2009. Uninspired by life in gray, uneventful Brussels, my girl and I headed off to China for an unforgettable year of teaching and travelling.

I was beginning to think we’d never get to Qufu. The journey from Tai’an was only supposed to take an hour, but our sweatbox of a bus had been stopping at five-minute intervals to pick up the entire province (and their mothers). As a result, the vehicle was now audibly straining under the weight of its occupants and the fans were broken, an experience that was every bit as shitty as it sounds.

Another downside was our moron of a driver; a pubescent rake of a boy dressed in a silly cap and oversized trousers. He had no concept at all of how to appropriately use the brake and honked his way through the entire journey. He honked at other vehicles to tell them to get out of the way. He honked at the people he was about to pick up on the side of the road. He honked at the sun for shining so damn brightly and when there was nothing left to honk about he honked some more just because he could. When we finally honked into Qufu, there was a palpable sense of relief for everyone on board as we oozed out of the bus like molten liquid. “Thank god that’s over!” puffed S.

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