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Published: June 26th 2013
Outside Gao Tai with Mr Guo
he invited me to come back to Zhangye some other time so that we could ride together. Maybe in a couple of years...
How policemen forced me to move from my hotel room at 11pm in Gao Tai, and how I got very wet riding to JiuQuan for 200km…
From Danxia (and its beautiful rock formation) I rode to Gao Tai (about 70km) in one afternoon. The sky was grey but I avoided the rain so I was pretty pleased when I got into the city. However, after 2 and a half hours of cycling along every single street Gao Tai has to offer and NOT being able to find a hotel, I started to get pretty cranky!... Most hotels would not take foreigners. They simply didn’t apply for the license that allows them to host foreigners. I can understand this as Gao Tai is definitely not a tourist destination for anyone, let alone foreign backpackers or tour groups. But when the bigger hotels asked for 200 Yuan for a shitty room, I felt very upset! One hotel offered me a room for 150. I agreed but when they told me there was no place to put my bike in for the night, I snapped… Anyway after 2 and a half hours of cycling from one hotel to another, I eventually found a
room for 30rmb next to the bus station. The room was huge and clean, and when the charming young girl in charge told me I could bring my bike in, my heart filled with joy and relief. I had a nice evening in town and some farmers from Zhangye even invited me for dinner and shared their food with me. We took pictures, talked for an hour and exchanged contacts. I was very pleased of the way things had turned out in Gao Tai. But… at 11pm three policemen showed up at my room… and clearly told me I wasn’t supposed to stay in this hotel I had chosen and they invited me to pack to escort me to a “safer” hotel. I was so annoyed but knew there wasn’t much I could do. When I told them that if the police department could spare 3 cops to take the “laowai” (=foreigner) to a hotel, it probably meant that the city was very safe, they saw that I wasn’t in the mood for small talk. I felt sorry for the young lady who had given me the room because it was obviously bad publicity for her little establishment.
are the questions these policemen asked me:
- Do you have a passport? - … Seriously, of course I have a passport!
- (as I was packing alone in my room with 1 bike next to the bed) How many of you are traveling? I looked around me, and above and behind the couch to see if there weren’t any other foreigners in the room… I was alone.
- (with his hands in his pockets and as I was carrying my bike down the stairs) What about your luggage? Well, I only have 2 hands but I need to carry my bike and 5 other bags down… And he never removed his hands from his pockets to help me carry stuff down.
They took me back to the hotel where the lady wanted to give me the crappy room for 200 and they got her to lower her price to 150rmb. I was still very upset about the whole system but shook the policemen’s hands as they left. I knew they were only doing their jobs. It’s not fair that foreigners are only allowed to stay in the expensive hotels when there are perfectly nice rooms
It's windy and rainy and you need to ride 200km to get to JiuQuan...
for 30rmb around the corner!
And guess what? It wasn’t over for me yet! The next day from Gao Tai to Jiu Quan I rode 200km through deserted bare and monotonous landscape, and it rained and rained and rained for the last 5 hours of this journey. At first it was light rain and I didn’t think it would last so I only put on my jacket… but 30 minutes later I was soaked to the bone and it was too late to put on my rain cover. I put on my waterproof socks and kept going. I am proud to say I rode 200km in a day but when I got to Jiu Quan I was dead! And there was no hot water at the hotel… J
I need to remember to get my camera out when things go bad too. I should have taken more pictures of myself riding under the rain but I was in a very bad mood and it was pissing down, I didn’t want to damage my camera.
In Gao Tai I should have camped but the sky looked threatening and there was construction going around all around the suburbs: noise
+ dust + people everywhere.
Bon, depuis le début je poste des photos de jolis endroits au soleil du Gansu avec la montagne, le ciel bleu, des Tibétains super accueillants, des formations rocheuses des plus curieuses et tout va pour le mieux. Sauf que parfois, la vie sur la route n’est pas aussi rose que cela… Parfois il pleut pendant des heures et je me caille sur la bicyclette. Parfois le vent est tellement fort que je roule à 10km/heure et que je pourrais aller plus vite en marchant… Parfois, les hôtels ne veulent pas de moi et parfois les commerçants cherchent à me gruger parce qu’ils pensent que tous les étrangers sont blindés de fric et qu’on ne connait pas les prix de Chine… Parfois, je crie de furie contre ce vent maudit ou cette pluie incessante. Parfois je claque les portes des boutiques; parfois je fais des doigts d’honneur aux camionneurs qui ont jugé bon de klaxonner 5 fois alors qu’ils me doublaient… Dans ces cas la, si jamais on me demande d’où je viens, je suis américain ;-)
Je vais essayer de penser a prendre des photos de tous ces moments plus difficiles. Evidemment le
Mr Guo rode from Zhangye to Jiayuguan
he was very nice and we exchanged numbers. he also warned me that I would meet a lot of rain a bit farther...
premier reflexe quand je suis en colère n’est jamais de sortir l’appareil mais je vais y travailler…
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