Across Continents

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Marching bands and Mexican waves

November 6th, 2010

My cover was blown. Efforts at a discreet departure from Pingliang dashed. The main route east closed to traffic. Diversions in force. Police at every junction. Like most people on two wheels I chose to ignore them. No one seemed to mind, the odd bicycle or moped ambling along the wide boulevard unlikely to draw attention.

But then I discovered the reason for the closure. Marching bands. Assembling at the eastern end of the town. Smart uniforms. Flags and banners. Lots of supporters. Over a thousand all told. Quickly spotted, I was met with loud cheers and clapping, spreading through the crowd quicker than I could pedal. Everyone looked. Everyone. Including the Police.

Decided waving back was too flamboyant. Best to be understated, the appearance of a harmless, lost Englishman who’d innocently taken a wrong turn. So I smiled. And pedalled hard.

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