D60: 温水→东胜 - China Blues - CycleBlaze

November 5, 2020

D60: 温水→东胜

I first noticed the police car following me about 20 minutes uphill from the police station. I was taking a video of the sort of thing which I'm apparently not the only person weird enough to find interesting but which is still deemed by the majority of my followers to be "viewing China through a uniquely foreign perspective". It's not though. It's really not. It's viewing China through a uniquely Marian perspective. Other foreigners, as a general rule, do not get excited about dedication stones memorializing the fact that when this section of road was first macadammed, it was a project sponsored by the National Bureau of Transportation.

They were parked about 100 or 150 meters downhill from me and I supposed since they were near some shops and some people that they might be doing something police-y. They didn't move at all during the 5 or 10 minutes I was taking the video either.

I noticed the police car again 21 minutes later at 11:28 when I stopped at the crest of a hill. Between 11:35 and 11:53, I was making a video of a tile propaganda mosaic, so it was really obvious that they were parked about 100 meters behind me. Even if they hadn't been in a marked police car, they hadn't even bothered to pull off the road. 

Just past noon, I got pissed off and pulled a u-turn and biked up to them and interrupted the officer in the passenger seat's phone call to ask "why are you following me?" only to have them insist that they weren't following me. There was no police car after that. 

Instead, as of 12:17, there was a unmarked white sedan parked about 100 meters back. I thought they were suspicious so I took a zoom photo which included their license plate number. This is how, although they would pass me on a curve shortly thereafter, causing me to think that maybe this car wasn't watching me, I was able to confirm that they were. 

It was about 12:45 or so and I'd stopped to get a snack when a white car with the license plate number I'd written down came from the other direction, drove just out of view around the corner, pulled a u-turn, and parked 150 meters away from me. After 10 minutes of sitting there watching me eat my lunch, and my friends making increasingly improbable suggestions of ways that I could either a) hide or b) really be an obvious and intentional nuisance to them, they drove off again. 

I was able to get my camera out and make an obvious point of photographing them as they did another pass (because apparently I bike too slowly for a police tail) after which any vehicles that were assigned to follow me did so less blatantly.

This was not the end of my day's fun and games though. Passing through the town of Zhaiba [寨坝], I stopped by the side of the road to take a cold & sinus pill (my throat was tickling with a cough that wanted to happen and which I didn't dare allow to happen in public) and to look at my GPS when a marked cop car pulled up, asked to see my documents, and told me I really ought to be wearing a mask. Neither of these officers who thought to tell me that I should be wearing a mask in a "no risk" zone while socially distanced was wearing a mask himself. This encounter only took 3 minutes according to the timestamps.

The Village Committee guys who flagged me down from their motorcycle and pulled me over shortly before I entered Chongqing Municipality took 25 minutes to go over my passport, my residence permit, my nucleic acid test, and my health code. Luckily, I had actually been planning on spending the night in the first town across the border as, by the time they were done, I was coming into town in the dark and really had no other options available to me.

It turns out that the town of Dongsheng is not considered to be large enough to get its own permanent police station so I couldn't just go there the way I'd planned. After a truly hilarious comedy of errors where I tried to convince my hotel/restaurant that I needed to call the police to let them know where I was and they were equally certain it was completely unnecessary (apparently because the hotel has security cameras), I got the police station number via Directory Assistance, called the police, and had a very confused officer go "you are proactively calling to inform me that you're traveling through my jurisdiction? Why?"

He did eventually tell the hotel owner what info he needed from me for him to fill out the paperwork (which I already knew) but, even so, still seemed confused that someone wanted to go out of their way to cooperate with Epidemic Prevention Work.

Today's ride: 35 km (22 miles)
Total: 2,873 km (1,784 miles)

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