D40: 从江→榕江 - China Blues - CycleBlaze

October 8, 2020

D40: 从江→榕江

In 2018, when I knew I was going to be close to a town where I'd had a problem with the cops in the past, I made a point of not going to that town. This year, I made my tour's theme specifically visiting towns where I'd - for any reason - spent time interacting with the police, and I've finally come to a town where I had a relatively negative (but for whom?) experience.

I'm pleased to report that yelling at the police continues to work but annoyed to report that the police in Rongjiang are still trying to enforce a
"No Foreigners Allowed" policy on the small hotels. Also, although the hotel owner is frustrated that she has been forced to turn foreigners away for "over a decade" she straight up refuses to write a letter to the Public Security Bureau asking for "clarification" on the "no foreigners" policy because it's really weird that police "allowed" the foreigner who was an absolute twat to the police to stay at her hotel. As a result, the actively enforced but actually nonexistent policy will probably continue as is.

Today was a river valley kind of day again. Less dither on my GPS than in 2012 so it reports me as 2000 cumulative meters gained and lost versus the 3000 it showed in 2012. I'd do the thing where it overwrites the track with the elevation data from Maps and smooths out the flow but, last time I did that, one of the files got corrupted and was lost so I'll not be doing that again until after I'm back in Hainan (by which I actually mean I'll be completely forgetting to do this at all).

I thought I was heading to the same hotel I spent the night at in 2012. It showed up as an existing hotel with pictures that were clearly more recently than my previous stay but, when I got to the location, it wasn't there. I had really hoped that I would be able to ask the boss lady what if anything had happened after the last time I lost my shit at the police because the things I said to them in 2012 were the kind of rather unforgivable words that, even now, when I've got both knowledge and power on my side, I wouldn't dare to intentionally say.

Early on in tonight's altercation one of the cops had the fucking gall to tell the hotel owner that if she "let" me stay, he had the right to put her in jail. Which he doesn't. And then he "let" me stay because nowhere-near-as-angry-as-she's-acting-Marian is scary. I might use them in a bellowing voice at the top of my lungs but phrases like "you are in violation of the law" and "State Council" are not phrases that an officer who is actually breaking the law and knows it wants to be hearing from a person whose arrest would be complicated.

So, when they were getting in their cars and leaving, I was petty enough to insist on an apology for "wasting my time". And, got it. It was as grudging an apology as I've heard from anyone over the age of 3 but I still got it

(Just as Rongjiang in 2012 taught me that the Chinese police are seriously afraid of people who want documentation regarding the rules they are being asked to follow, and that scaring the police is one of the fastest ways to get them to do what I want, I'm thinking that tonight's "demanding an apology" shall equally be brought into all future interactions with the police. It was delightful.)

Other than tonight's episode, today was pretty uneventful. Which is not to say that nothing happened. It's just that nothing happened that was anywhere near as interesting. Woke up. Packed up the room. Temporarily forgot my stupid hat. Had breakfast. Failed to find any of the places I'd photographed in 2012 between "2 or 3 kilometers outside of Congjiang" and "15 or 20 kilometers away from Rongjiang". Went up and down and up and down and up and down at around a 6% grade.

The brief bit during the end of Guangxi where I suddenly got roadside temples again is back to no visible shrines. Saw a few places where someone had stuck some incense sticks into the ground in front of a rock; a thing with feathers and red paper that was clearly some kind of juju charm. Saw the rice harvest being put in special buildings to dry, talked to a woman making handwoven indigo dyed fabric (and apparently selling it but not actually willing to give me any way to contact her so I could buy it), and was smiled and waved at by more people than I could count.

If only today had been sunny, it would have been perfect.

Today's ride: 85 km (53 miles)
Total: 2,063 km (1,281 miles)

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