the police come a knocking

It was one day earlier in the week, about 9 pm and I’m in my apartment in the middle of the Chinese meal I had picked up ‘to go’ at a restaurant.  I don’t like to eat so late, but most times it’s unavoidable.  With the “in bed by 10 pm routine” it’s not ideal on a full stomach. Because most of the restaurants in the area button up by 8:30 pm means I’ve got to hightail it home, drop my bag and get out for some take out.

I thought about and discussed having someone cook food in my apartment several times per week, but then I’d need to give out a key and trust and hope I’ll like the food, and that everything is cleaned afterward to my liking.  On the other hand, food in restaurants is so affordable and diverse, it’s just simpler if I do the take-out routine.  As long as the place has pictures on the menu or I’m armed with the Waygo translation app, I’m good to go.

So as I’m (trying) to watch a buffering netflix show while gobbling down a meal, I hear a knock on the door.  I’m kind of startled because no one knocks on my door.  There is no peep hole so I open the door and there stands a policeman.  Now I’m doubly surprised.  He starts speaking Chinese but I waved him off.  “English,” I say.  Luckily, he spoke broken English.

He wanted to know what I was doing, was I living alone, when did I arrive, etc, etc.  He needed my passport and took down all the pertinent details in the logbook he had with him.  He kept trying to peak inside but I didn’t let him in.  After about 10 questions he seemed satisfied, smiled, said thanks and left.

Apparently it’s normal, every foreigner is registered.  They know where everyone is.  In fact, because I arrived and am staying in an apartment and not a hotel, legally I had to go to the police station and report where I was living within 24 hours of arrival, which someone did for me.  Hotels do that which is why they are required to take a copy of your passport upon check in.  I’m guessing I could have gotten away without reporting in, but why mess with the law.  Now I’m double checked-in.  No harm in them knowing, as long as they don’t need to come knocking anymore.

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