We left the town of Huocheng, which was bigger than we had thought:
Passed a wedding ceremony on the way:
And gradually gained back the countryside:
And then I crossed my own way.
It happened here:
I had come from the opposite direction a bit more than a week ago, when I was walking on the highway.
And now I was here, looking at myself again:
It was weird.
But only for a moment.
Then I was mesmerized by the beauty of the villages:
There were warning signs everywhere:
”No organization or individual is allowed to gather or transport people lacking proper ID to enter or exit the administrative border zone 任何单位和个人不得组织，运送无有效证件人员出入边境管理区“
“No organization or individual is allowed to offer shelter to, hide, or assist in finding shelter for people lacking proper ID 任何单位和个人不得收留，藏匿，安置无有效证件人员”
We waltzed around like nothing was wrong.
Took a break in a little shop:
And after a few hours we finally reached Qingshuihe…
And boy were we surprised to find out that many of the big hotels were closed down for inspection, apparently because they “had done something wrong”?!
So we figured we’d do the right thing and went straight to the police to turn ourselves in.
It took a few hours.
The people at the police station were all very helpful and friendly.
And when we had successfully explained ourselves and examined, copied and scanned all our papers, we each got one of these:
Yes, this might look like I am a total terrorist. But this slip of paper was now my 100% police-approved identification, enabling me to stay in ANY hotel of my choosing!
Had I only known this before!!
The police arranged for a moderately priced hotel for us to spend the night, then they smiled and wished us good luck.
And we weren’t the only ones:
These cyclists from Switzerland were on their way to Southeast Asia all the way from Europe. They had just arrived in China, they were hungry and super-optimistic, and they were very nice to talk to!
We went around the corner and had some big plate of chicken 大盘鸡:
We spent a little while on a public square, looking at people dancing:
It was nice.
There was a little kid around, I found him hilarious:
I think he found me very scary:
And he hadn’t even seen my new police-approved ID.