Tai’an to Qufu

October 7th, 1999

Because of my disturbed sleep I eventually got up at 11am and had a bath. The washing I had done last night was still damp. I walked around Tai’an looking for a camera and the railway station. Found neither. I eventually stumbled into the train station via the back-door and then got worried as to how I would get out. Soon found a side gate open clearly. Why does anyone queue up and pay I wonder? I then took the minibus to Qufu (20Y) from opposite the main entrance of the Railway Station at 16:15 and arrived in Qufu around 6 pm. Next door to one mini-bus stop was the ‘Chanqing Bequin’ which offered a room for 80Y. It was a bit scrubby compared to previous nights but ok. Qufu is a really nice little town / or city with many food stalls and quite friendly or just intrigued people. Even so, I had a deep feeling of loneliness. All my thoughts and findings but no one to share them with and not even a camera to record the views and experiences for posterity. I had a bottle of beer and tried to communicate with the people on the next table and watched Chinese Chess. Forgot my loneliness and sauntered back to the hotel. Then, on arrival at the government run ‘prison camp’ I discovered that because they processed me so quickly when I had checked in, they forgot to tattoo a number on my arm. I was all but arrested and driven to the local PSB office. I disturbed a game of cards and a sleep for some others and after waiting in the cold office for some time found out that all they wanted were my passport details which the efficient staff at the hotel had not recorded as they should have. No apology and had to ask for the return lift.

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