13.05.2016, 19:35 Uhr, Guang’an
I am heating up and the incidents are overturning. I need to make a break and write this down. So this morning at 6 I woke up like announced. Around 6:45 my drivers were ready as well. We had a delicious soup for breakfast and drove 4,5 hours. The service areas on this part of the highway have been kind of dead, so they decided to drop me at a toll station of the city they went to. They refused to go until they found a new car for me. How nice they are, those Chinese people. Unfortunately we did not took the best tactic and I was not allowed to intervene in the hitchhiking. Too dangerous. Of course. I told them several times, that it is totally okay to let me be by myself. After 45 minutes they accepted this and went off. Finally I could hitchhike.
Or not. 5 minutes later the whole police station showed up around me and pulled me off the road, to make some photos with me and bring me food. I was not hungry, but also hadn’t anything better to do than eating. And if you are without money and you don’t know when the next meal will be there, you better eat what you get. I think one of the dishes they brought me was lung. Not sure about it, but it was a bit like cabbage and I had very aromatic burps afterwards.
At some point my old driver came back, to look how I am doing. He found me surrounded by the police, sitting at the side of the road and eating my food. He agreed to bring me back on the highway to the next service area. For farewell I got some sweets for my supply bag.
And hellya, this was probably the most lively service area I have ever been. So much hurly-burly that I decided to hitchhike directly on the highway. That worked very well. Second car stopped. Two times in a row. The second time my driver just decided very late to pick me up and brought his car approx. 5 km behind me to stand. Usually I am very good in walking and when a car stops I always run towards it. But not this time. I almost died on my way. Was jogging and had to stop three times because I was so exhausted to reach this car. Anyway he took me 100km and I was happy to make the move.
When I got out of the car he gave me 200 Yen (around 40€) „for the way“. New money. I took it with appreciation, because where this 200 Yen came from, has been a lot more money. He had a bunch of notes in his hand and I guess it was at least 1000€ he had in his pockets. Happens.
Well and then the disaster started. I was thumbing at a toll station of some city and caused a traffic chaos, because immediately three cars stopped in the middle of the road. You definitely can not say the Chinese people wouldn’t be willed to pick someone up. Well and then the communication problems started. First driver did not understand. He was driving a mini bus. I walk to the next car. Try to explain. He follows me and says I should get into the bus. As I went in i saw that there are a lot of old people in the van and it looked like a taxi. I said „no money“ when getting in and thought that would be fine.
I had a guilty conscience, when we arrived at the service station. I thought a thank-you gift would not be the worst. I tried to give him some sweets. I had more than enough. Delicious cookies! He refused. He wanted money. I told him, that I don’t have any money. You know, I just got some money as a present from this other driver, but for sure I would not give that this greedy taxi driver. It is about the hitchhiking and this is not the first time, that I am in a situation like this. Well and then it escalated. We discussed, I told him that i really do not have money and even showed all my pockets. When he saw my smartphone he tried to crab it. By now it became clear that we won’t come to an mutual agreement in this case. He wants my mobile for a few kilometer on the highway, that he would have done anyway? Idiot.
At some point I was about to leave the van, he hold me back, I sit down, he locked the doors and just drove off. I was trapped. He kidnapped me. To the police. No clue what his agenda was. But this brought me into a scrape. You know, if you once start lying, it is hard to get out of it. And I had this 200 Yen in my passport. They would see it, if the check my identity. And this would be hard to explain. Also I never registered in China so far, which we where supposed to do after 2-4 days. Shit situation for me. I already saw the end of my trip in front of me. Would they deport me? Would I need to pay a fine? Would they put me into jail? First of all I ate a cookie and pretended that I am not giving a fuck.
I explained the police that I was hitchhiking, that i don’t have any money and that he told me, I should come into the car (I mean he saw me talking with the other cars). And to avoid further escalation I went to the toilet. I had to really urgently…..take the money out of my passport and put it into the battery shelf of my camera. Once I came back the policemen immediately asked for my passport. Then it took time. And time. And time. I had some more cookies and observed the scenery. The people from the taxi smoked, like good Chinese people do and the driver….no clue about this guy.
In general he was quite upset, but I also could recognize in his face a slight hint of insecurity. Those moments where you know, he is not sure if this shit actions was right or not. Those moments when he starts laughing for a moment out of embarrassment . I had no sympathies left for this guy and found it totally okay, that he made all this effort, for his passengers, me, the police and slowly started to feel stupid about this. At some point the boss of the police station arrived. My punishment came near. And he made a short procedure.
He talked to the taxi driver. Explanation. I could not understand anything, but the police officer asked him at some point: „Why did you pick him up?“ followed by a short finger pointing to the door. Get the fuck out of here. I was left behind alone. Will they put me in jail now? „Where are you going?“, the younger police man asked me with Google Translate. I told them my direction. „Do you need any help?“ Help? Me? No. Why should I need help. It became clear that I would not spend a night in a comfortable cell with free food. I offered to walk back to the highway by myself and they gladly agreed to this. And now I am back here at the service station. I will have some cookies now and try to relax after all this hustle. Then continue.
14.05.2016, 08:44, Wuhan
Had a good night. First catched a ride with a truck that was on it’s way to a ferry. I could have joined and go down the Yangtze River for two days. Pretty cool thing, but I had no time for this. I was on big rivers before and I need to make progress. So I decided against it and it was a good decision. Caught a mini van directly after, with four men who were driving 1400 km to Shanghai. Nightride. I arrived at the Siduhe Bridge checkpoint and got even 700 km further to Wuhan.