It all was going too well. I had arrived in Jiuquan the final city decent sized city before going under the radar in Xinjiang. En-route, rolling nicely over some moderate passes, had the cheeks (on my face) stung by some torrential rain in a thunder storm, and crossed some minor desert. With almost 800km covered it wasn’t a bad six days I was feeling very much back in the groove.
I was feeling pretty pleased with myself, my knee is feeling better than it ever has, cheers Tarja, and I’d put in two 140kmplus days with ease. Knowing that I could push a little without worrying about my knee is a huge weight off my mind. I was planning to sort some visa stuff and admin over the next few days in my last bit of civilisation then break for Urumqi, 1,200km northwest. I managed to find a nice and more importantly cheap hotel. It was the first one I’ve come across in China with English Channels, and Godfather 1 was on. Brilliant.
2 hours into the epic, a few beers down, I was in a faint doze-like state. Enjoying the creature comforts, of a TV in English and a few kit kats in the belly, when there was an imperative rap on the door. After throwing on some pants I opened it and six stern police person’s barged in shining torches in my face and barking in Chinese.
What the F&*K!
I was told to sit down, and quizzed about every detail on my passport and what I was doing in China. What was my job? What did I think of China? Where was I going? Where had I been? After about half an hour of sweaty palm wringing, as my interrogator waved his torch in my face while I answered his questions as politely as I could, I wanted to tell them all to get the F%^k out of my room so I could watch the rest of The Godfather, the mood changed. And the interrogation turned into an informal chat.
I was offered a cigarette, and I showed them my bike and proposed route on my map which they got quite enthused about. Eventually, they told me that the six of them were in my room, scaring the s$#t out of me, rifling through my stuff, and shining a torch in my face because I had checked into a non touristic hotel, and I’d have to move, to a more expensive one, in the morning. And off they went, wagging their flashlights behind them.
I was woken at dawn this morning and escorted to my new lodgings, three times the price of my original hotel, 150 yuan(15euro). This is way too expensive to spend more than a night in, so I’m off tomorrow, leaving a trail of unfinished admin, and half finfished visa applications.
Grrrrr, fecking bureaucracy.