D59: 官店→温水 - China Blues - CycleBlaze

November 4, 2020

D59: 官店→温水

It's not even 30km from Guandian to Xianyuan [仙源] what was the town I was supposed to be aiming for the night of the day I decided on a whim to follow the old "Long March Road" so I'm in no huge rush to get moving.

I'm actually in the process of getting dressed when the police knock on my door in the morning to double check that my stated intention to leave today is, in fact, still today. I gather that they don't ever have very many foreigners around these parts and, separate from all the Covid stuff (which they know isn't an issue with me), I've already shown myself to be the kind of person who gets herself into the kind of trouble where they feel obligated to come to the rescue, so they're hinting—in the nicest possible way—that it would be most awesome if I were to leave before I do anything else that involves paperwork.

I finish packing, get myself breakfast noodles of the delicious soft tofu and mint variety, fail to notice some bitch sneakily recording me from the sidewalk (to later post as an "eww dirty foreigner in our town" video which makes it back to me), and while I'm still reeling from what looks like bad news on the US election front, I get the most incredible message.

It's a photo.
Of a document.
Regarding a complaint.
Made about some police and their behavior in response to a foreigner wanting to stay in a hotel.

The three officers who initially responded have been censured by name and the county police are specifically to "get training regarding the relevant laws regarding foreigners".

Once again, I need to state that I won't actually believe any of this until someone else tells me they've stayed in Rongjiang without a hassle but damn are they sure doing their best to make it look like they've really taken the complaint to heart.

After breakfast is over and coffee is made and coffee is drunk, I'm off to the police station to give them a formal "bye" and to take a really crap video of my thanking them for coming and getting me those last 2km. The Chinese for "Prince Charming" is 白马王子 meaning "prince on a white horse" so I refer to them as 蓝衣王子 or "princes in blue clothes".

The scenery is mind blowing gorgeous and mostly the reasons I've got for walking are either the desperate need to take photographs or the despair I'm feeling from my most recent look at how the election is going.

When the police van from Xianyuan pulls up behind me, I've only just hit the beginning of the real climbing though and they'd like me to know that even though it's not yet 3pm and even though Xianyuan is just under 18km away, I'm not making it by nightfall and I should get in the van.

It takes a few rounds to convince me but they succeed. The officer who ends up friending me via TikTok says it was a local that called me in to let them know a foreigner was walking real early on on the Big Mountain but his brothers in blue from Guandian also count as locals and I strongly suspect it was them.

From the ride in the van I can say they were right, no way in hell I was getting that done by dark. Also, that backup plan of mine to make it at least to the main road cause main roads always have through busses one can occasionally hitch a ride on would require this main road to have busses.

Hearing that my next night's destination is planned to be Wenshui, the Executive Decision (which I'm not entirely involved in) is to take me all the way there. This includes changing from the police van in Xianyuan to a police car. 

Having seen the road from Xianyuan to Wenshui and the topo profile, I probably could've done it (if I'd left the labeled "national road" for the actual "main road") but I wasn't going to turn my nose up at a free ride. For one thing, the actual main road after Xianyuan has been widened and regraded at least once since the end of World War Two and that's not something you can say about the road before it. (Unlike most National Roads, it seems to have been redesignated as such as part of recognizing the historical context of the road. Also, development monies for the surrounding communities.)

The Wenshui police are not exactly what you'd call "thrilled" to see me. They also are having a hard time understanding that, of course, when I leave in the morning for Chongqing it will be on my bicycle. And they really really aren't understanding anything at all about the why behind my not wanting to stay in a nice place in the city (for me discomfort comes from the contrasts in quality) and cut short my protest of wanting a cheaper hotel by having the government pick up the difference in my bill between "what I want to pay" and "what the place they take me costs".

Freed from people to make conversation with and no longer having any paperwork to fill in, the motion sickness pills I took in the van catch up to me and I'm down for a three hour nap by 6pm. Dinner (at around 10pm) is oatmeal.

Today's ride: 8 km (5 miles)
Total: 2,838 km (1,762 miles)

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