20 January 2015
Today was my day off, I decided to go to the Chinese border, which is maybe five kilometers from the city. Why I wanted to see the Chinese border I am not sure, just curiosity, I wanted to take a photo of China. I did the same once in Poland when I took a photo of Belorussia. Polish border guards showed up out of nowhere in less two minutes.
Vending machine in the hotel. The sign says “machine doesn’t work. And see the sing on the right? Transliterated it reads “bufet”, easy!
I took a taxi to a monument here
However on Google Maps it is not entirely clear whether you’re still in Russia or already in China, and there is a small difference between Google Maps and OSM-maps. After two kilometers, still 700 meters away from China according to Google, I ended up at a fence with a gate and guard with a Kalashnikov, here
China must be here somewhere…
What did I want? A photo of China? Ehh… The guard made a few phone calls, and then an SUV showed up with an officer. Officially this was not ok, but, you know … come in, five minutes, for coffee. I got in the SUV, we drove to a building some 400 meters away, I got a seat in the officers bureau, and then coffee. I was now still 300 meters from China. The girl that brought coffee spoke perfect English, her mother was an English teacher. After twenty minutes I was told the visit was over and they would bring me back to the gate. Fine. Still no photo, but who cares.
And then, on the way back to the SUV, two men show up in plain clothes, they start talking to the officer and after a few minutes they decide that we must go back into the building, just five more minutes ok?
Gate, guard, Kalasjnikov. All other photos were deleted from my camera. The sign on the photo says STOP in Latin letters, but they also have signs that say стоп in Cyrillic, they mix it
Then the interrogation starts. Name, passport, what was the purpose of my trip. Khabarovsk-Vladivostok? OK. How you travel, where is your car? On a bike? Really? A moment of silence, and then: “Please, can we see your passport again? Can we look at the photos in your camera? Where is your phone, can we see it? Yes please give it to me.”
It took about thirty minutes, then the interview was over and, surprise, they brought me back all the way to the hotel. I must say they stayed friendly and polite all the time. But no photo of China.