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The Dezhou Circus

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I wrote the following article on June 20th, 2010 but almost immediately removed it from my website because I felt it was negative and did not accurately reflect the wonderful time I was having in China. Over a year has passed since I wrote this short article, and with the benefit of hindsight I can say that, while I would never want to visit the Dezhou circus again, I do not regret going. It was a life changing experience, like being imprisoned in South Africa, taken hostage by a mad man, or serving in the military at a time of war. I do not think this article captures the bizarre, dream-like  events or the oppressive heat and thick air, but hopefully it will entertain. – Devon

Dezhou Circus "Gongfu Master"

Stay in school.

I haven’t been to a Western circus, let alone a Chinese circus, in years, so I had no idea what to expect when we went to a Chinese circus near Dezhou today. I only hoped there wouldn’t be depressed animals  paraded around in the 37 degree heat. Ignoring both the obese lethargic tiger (who required prodding to leave his cage) and the wolf made to jump through hoops (despite sporting a limp), the circus was excellent. It defied my expectations by creating a David Lynch dream-like atmosphere, an atmosphere I continue to re-experience, like deja vu.

After a brief sleep (2AM bedtime, 7:45AM wakeup), shower, and breakfast the day started at 9 AM in a mercifully air conditioned bus to the circus. Upon arrival we met Katie, an  tour guide who took 3 years of English at university and spoke relatively well. Like the Chinese tour guides we saw at the Summer Palace and Forbidden City in Beijing,  she carried a pointer with a flag on it in one hand and a loudspeaker in the other. These attention-getting tools nearly made up for her diminutive stature and voice. She also required we wear matching hats, likely to make it easier to quickly usher us from location to location. Were it not for her prodding, we may have missed a lot of the terrors to follow. For assisting in the madness, she deserves a special place in hell. On a positive note, working in the Dezhou circus should count as double time against her sentence to eternal damnation. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Devon Ireland

October 17th, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Posted in Pictures

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