The Police - China Blues - CycleBlaze

November 14, 2020

The Police

Unlike certain presidents of the United States, I not only know when I've lost a fight, I also know when it's time to concede gracefully. I was so close to winning too. But the final Hail Mary tactic that the police employed turned out to work in their favor, and I ended up - for the third time this trip - in the back of a police car.

I'll have to check my notes to figure out what the exact score is, but, for the first time since 2018, the boys in blue have earned a point for their team.

I got to hand it to them, of all of the arguments that have been brought to the fore as to why I oughtn't want to stay where I already am, this was certainly one of the most unique. At least as unique as the police station in Gansu which—after the Public Security Bureau had already said I could stay in their town if I really wanted to—said that I couldn't; because I'm a girl. Because I'm a girl and I'm traveling alone, and they wouldn't let their little sister stay alone at one of their truck stops so they weren't going to let me either.

The hotel's business license is expired.

It expired in January.

So, technically, and forgetting the whole part about me being foreign or this place being the kind of dump which they'd really rather foreigners not experience, the hotel isn't supposed to be having any guests at all. And being as it's the only hotel in town, my choices are to actually follow through with my "I could always sleep in my tent" threat or to get in the back of the police car and be driven to the nearest city.

So, to the city it was.

Where they had no problem at all with me staying someplace rather downmarket. Even let me pick the hotel myself.

Just not their rural guesthouse from the late 80's (maybe could have been the early 90s) with an owner who was so afraid of me bringing disease with me from America that the first thing she'd done when I finished carrying my loaded touring bike up to the front desk (on the third floor!) was to spray me down with rubbing alcohol. Because someone who isn't panting after they just carried 40kg up three flights of stairs must be uhhh... asymptomatic?

As with the majority of the times the police have won an encounter with me, I hate to say it but I am probably more comfortable where I ended up than where I started. Not always. That one city in Hebei the night I just didn't feel like fighting, that hotel sucked. But usually.

Oddly enough, although the presence of the police made it very easy for me to get behind the Front Desk and begin the process of registering myself on the computer, the people who the police were on the phone with at the Exit & Entry Administration decided that they wanted photocopies of my documentation instead of a proper computerized registration so I didn't end up on the computer.

Luckily, when the police got involved the next night (to also decide in favor of photocopies and against me registering myself on the computer) no one questioned why they were unable to find me on the computer.

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