Fuck me, just when things are looking up, back down they come.
Riding to work this morning, and life was good: beautiful day, looking forward to a coffee, I was even going a different way for something new. It was just a lovely morning when BAM, I came around a corner and an middle aged Chinese woman (say 50ish) decided that was the time to make a dart across the street. I started braking hard, yelling out, but that was that: she hadn't looked, didn't care and as she finally turned it was too late: she got very startled and fell just as I came to a stop in front of her.
The fall wasn't pretty - she landed on her hip. However, she didn't bang her head, which was a blessing. At this point, I have a choice: fast bail, or stay and help. I'm not proud to admit that my first instinct was the baileroo, but that's more because the number one thing you get told in China is DON'T GET INVOLVED WITH THE POLICE. However, I decided almost immediately to do the right thing, and I hopped off my bike and helped her up.
Being China, a small crowd had formed (sidebar - I really hate the rubbernecking in China, it's fucking wrong), and not wanting to look eager to leave, I was still there, checking she was OK. A kind stranger informed me that she wanted the police called: I asked her why.
"She wants money from you," was the swift reply.
I rang Adam, with worry levels on the rise. His advice was to BAIL - same thought I had. But i felt wrong bailing, and there were 100 billion security cameras nearby. Sure enough, the police arrived, and the bartering began. PLEASE NOTE - THE COP WAS ACTIVELY CONTROLLING THE NEGOTIATION.
She asked for 1000 yuan, and I laughed at her. SHE HAD A SMALL SCRATCH on her hand, and refused to go to hospital (which I had offered to pay for) because NOTHING WAS WRONG. So i countered with 700 yuan, which forced her to respond "But you're white!". So the fuck what? I then decided on a new tack - I told her that I worked for the Australian Consulate, and I would be happy to take this back to the police station, where I would seek compensation from her for wasting my time.
She immediately settled for 500 yuan. To clarify, I had to pay off an old woman simply because I'm white, and I didn't bail on the site of an accident that I wasn't at fault for.
Fuck you, China.