D29: 靖边 → 海口 - Me China Red - CycleBlaze

April 16, 2021

D29: 靖边 → 海口

Eleventh time's the charm - bye bye campgas canister
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Had I continued biking for another 8 days, there would have been no problem at all ending up in a city that has an airport. It wouldn't be an airport with direct flights to Hainan but it would have been an airport.

It's just, with what the weather is doing, I don't know how long 8 days of biking will take me and I've absolutely got to be back by the 27th.

The bike club had suggested the city that this county is officially a part of as having better transportation options in terms of my getting from here to there, but the flights from Yan'an lined up better if I didn't want to be spending forever in transit.

In case you wondered how much toilet paper is used at the Xi'an Airport
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Of course, since I still need to be driven the two hours and change down to Yan'an, I'm still spending forever in transit but it's not as bad as it could be.

The taxi I've hired with help from the Front Desk is a talkative man who is not exactly the sharpest spoon in the knife drawer. He let's me know I'm the second American he's ever met. Except that he didn't actually meet the first one. He only talked to him over WeChat. Text only. With auto translate. When that American, who was being held for ransom by Somali pirates, got in contact with him asking for help.

Having organized to pick me up an hour earlier than I wanted, and shown up 45 minutes later than the time he set, the dear also needed help following the instructions on his GPS once we got to a road he was unfamiliar with.
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He wired tens of thousands of yuan to this "American" with a profile picture you could find via image search for "profile picture", an Italian name, and location set as Russia.

The conversations, which he still has, are textbook scam up to and including the "American" on the other end refusing voice call or video chat (I only have a laptop, we aren't allowed mobile phones at sea), the bank account that he wired the money to being a Chinese name of a Chinese person in China, and the police telling him they couldn't do anything about it. 

Needless to say, having proven himself gullible, he has had multiple people adding him to see if they too can get him to give them money.
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(Personally, I think they probably could, but it took me twenty minutes of being in the car to discover that the money hadn't been sent internationally, and the police—not being forced to continue to listen to him—may not have realized this.)

When the conversation eventually drifts away from the scam and my attempts not to tell him he's a moron or that scammers deliberately throw up every red flag in the book because people smart enough to realize the holes in a story aren't a good return on investment, it hits highlights such as why I'm not married, my shocking lack of children, that American men truly don't need to pay a dowry to the parents of the bride, that he's divorced, that he hasn't seen his child in two years, and that he doesn't pay child support. 

I do believe that's a Great Wall Watchtower
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(Claiming that he would totally give her money if she'd let him, he fails to see the connection between his ex-wife's parents demanding a dowry and his not supporting the mother of his child in raising his child.)

Even though my flight is from the New Yan'an Airport which isn't shared with the military, the regulation is still in place that all the window shades be closed as we taxi and take off. That makes the turbulence feel even worse.

I have about five hours in Xi'an before my next flight which I spend working.

Arrive in Haikou just shy of midnight and barely manage to maintain consciousness long enough to stumble my way into the hotel that I stayed at on my way out.

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