Across Continents

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Looking for John

Johns cafe - montage - web

I was searching for John. Or at least his Information Cafe. Had a mention in my less than reliable guide book. The same one that, earlier in the day, had steered me towards a local hotel. Excellent value for money. Must have been. Boarded up.

Beneath dusty vine trellises, I’d wandered a little off the main tourist thoroughfare. Trusting, with some trepidation, the map I’d gleaned from the guide book. Looking for a sign. There were quite a few. Around the side of a hotel, across a deserted car park, through an archway, more trellis work. Eventually the cafe.

Quiet. A few fellow Westerners. An American, two French, a couple I thought, and a young Japanese man. Seemed five would have been a crowd. Discussing the attentiveness of Chinese students studying English, their ability for critical analysis, to question rather than accept at face value.

Johns cafe - food - web

I chose to engrosse myself in the menu. Mostly European flavour, some obligatory Chinese options, pricing somewhere in between. Turpan was a tourist town. I’d stick with a coffee. And perhaps some fries. Needed to replenish my salt levels. And see if John appeared.


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