Barney & Loye


Henan FlagLoye: We arrived at Zhengzhou in the middle of the night. I mean it was like 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning. We then began our travels with my sister Susan and brother-in-law Scott who were living at the University of Zhengzhou.

Loye: One night we set out from Zhengzhou to Keifang. I remember very strongly walking in the evening to the opera house on dirt roads. There was no light. It was completely dark. You could hear the sloofing of soft shoes in the dirt of people walking, knowing people were around you.

Barney: As we crossed the street Mr. Wong linked arms with us to help us across the road. They had to be careful when everyone crossed the street. You had to hang on to someone. An arm had to guide me across the road.

Barney: The opera was fantastic. We had Wong and Wei Wei with us, friends of Loye’s sister. When we got there Wei Wei was sitting on one side of me and Wong was on Loye’s side and they were trying to explain to us how the opera was going to go. Everybody around us is reciting the opera. They sang the songs and everyone was doing the same thing. You’ve got a thousand people and an opera going on.

Loye: Yes, they were singing every song, saying every word. Both Wong and Wei Wei on either side of us were saying the words to the opera, but were also telling us the English version, which we kind of figured out. But the crying, the crying. The crying was just amazing. Everybody was singing, and the whole theater was sobbing.

Loye: After staying in Zhengzhou for a short time we set out on our adventure. It took a while to gather up what we needed.

Loye: We prepared by taking medicines. We went to the pharmacy in Zhengzhou, which had dirt floors and very, very tall ceilings. They had to use ladders to get up to all of these wooden draws, which reached all the way up. Everything from cockroaches to any kind of dried bug and centipedes, all these sort of things. When they opened them up to show us they were on little bamboo stretchers and they would be lined up. They had all these different things. They would pulverize all the little insects and make a concoction. Then they would make these incredibly tiny little pills and put them into little brown packages. You would tell them what you wanted. They had things for headache, for fever. So we did that. We didn’t worry about taking food.

Journal Entry

Journal-Shopping – “Susan, Barney, and I walked to catch bus to town. Shop for raincoat, wonderful wooden bells with owls, a packet of burros (donkeys) in brush painting. Purchased a PLA canteen for the trip. First time to pay with foreign currency. Young clerk chases us down the street to correct change. Met several students, one who insisted on buying us Baozi (a dough like snack). Home for siesta.” – Loye, 1982