Posts Tagged ‘Gongliu’


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.


‘You should change hotels.’
It was 20:30, and I was going up to my room for the night.
‘Why?’ I asked in Chinese. ‘Are foreigners not allowed to stay in this hotel?’ (also in Chinese).
No, that was not the problem. When the explanation came in Chinese, I stared blankly. ‘Wo ting bu dong.’ (I don’t understand.)
An English speaker was phoned to help me understand.
‘Maybe the hotel is too old, and I want a better one,’ she suggested.
‘I just want to sleep,’ I replied. ‘I’m tired.’
‘Ahhh,’ came the reply. ‘You want to sleep?? Hand the phone back to the woman at the front desk.’
I was allowed to stay.
Chinese logic at it’s most incomprehensible.

Free gift

Free gift

The hotel is an hour hotel (or o’clock hotel as they call it). The one last night was too. An hour in the hotel is only a few yuan less that the whole night. I must say, I am impressed with the Chinese approach to these hour hotels. In the one last night, they had lots of posters with doctors and nurses wearing the AIDS red ribbon, and posters promoting the use of condoms. They seemed to be part of a safe sex health campaign. In the hotel tonight, they had two free condoms in the bathroom.

Still, I wonder why I was asked to change hotels. Maybe the people at the reception thought that I might be woken by orgasmic cries in the night. Or maybe my conservative and puritan self might be shocked by my fellow hotel guests. I guess I will never know.

Cycling – oh, yes. This is a cycle blog. The road was straight with moderate traffic through farming country. I ate lots of grapes, and passed 15000km from Eindhoven.

Grapes

Grapes

15000km

15000km