Day 183. 135km. Gongliu – Areletuobie

Posted: November 11, 2015 in China, Cycling
Tags: , , ,

The people here are wonderful – I’ve been showered with happy faces and gifts. On the other hand, like Iran, this is a state ruled by the iron fist. Again my hotel looked a bit shaky after a police station visit. I am only passing through. The people that live here have to endure this indefinitely.

Unity of the people

Unity of the people

Every kilometre or so I pass by a bright red sign with yellow script. I had a bash at translating one – it was all about unity and solidarity of the people. The signs were about as frequent as the two heads in Iran, and the president in Tajikistan. They were everywhere.

Just in front of a red sign, I was stopped by a good-looking young man I had smiled at a kilometre back down the road. He had hopped on his motor scooter and gave me a bottle of water. I was handed another bottle of water out of the window of a passing car. I was given some watermelon by two kids who were at the same melon stall as me. I was given a new cap, towel and two cobs of cooked corn at my lunch stop. And I was given all sorts of different fruits when getting some fruit for dinner. Lovely lovely people.

Melon stall

Melon stall

Gift showerers

Gift showerers

Fruit gifts

Fruit gifts

I found a hotel, put my bike in the room, and went with the hotel manager to the police station. (He wanted to take my passport there himself. I said I would come with him.) I could sense it coming (I understood a lot of what they were saying at the police station.) I wasn’t allowed to stay in that hotel, or indeed any hotel in the village. I needed to go 25km to a different village where there was a foreigner hotel. Then the, now standard, phone call with the English speaker confirmed my suspicions. I played the same card as yesterday – ‘I’m tired, it’s late, and I can’t cycle further. I just want to sleep.’
Mm. Some police websites were opened, some protocol documents checked, and then, amazingly, I could go. I was allowed to sleep at my non-foreigner hotel. All this is getting tiring, though. I think tomorrow I’ll be sleeping hidden in my tent.

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