D4: 半墅山 → 兴隆 - A China Coddiwomple - CycleBlaze

June 2, 2022

D4: 半墅山 → 兴隆

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I had a mountain today. Quite an impressively mountainous mountain at that. Spent my first 37 kilometers climbing before I topped out at a tunnel from 1968 that still has the 毛主席万岁 and 共产党万岁 slogans visible in the concrete.

For a good portion of the day, my favorite part was having a car full of village checkpoint officers come chase me down to tell me that, no matter what my GPS said, I needed to take the bypass road as they hadn't yet pulled down the barrier cul-de-sacing their village and it's quite a distance to go. That they only caught up with me as I'd very nearly made the barrier is irrelevant, it's the thought that counts.

Later on, my favorite would be an icy cold strawberry yogurt drink fished out of a basket floating in a mountain spring or—in going to fill my bottle from the spring—stopping to pour frigid water over my arms and face.

I also bought dried apples from him
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By and large, even with the amount of climbing, it was a really nice, really pretty day along one of the canyon roads that gets poetically referred to as 一天线 (a single line of sky). It's just that, whether it's a thirty minute chat with a local motorcycle tourist out on a day ride or finding a 1967 bridge with the concrete quotation boards still mostly legible, the rather dramatic end to the day serves to somewhat overwhelm the non-dramatic stuff.

These two are a quote from Mao's opening speech at the first People's Congress
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领导我们事业的核心力量是中国共产党,指导我们思想的理论基础是马克思列宁主义。
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And these two mention that enemies (whether they are anti-progressives or on the side of the American Imperialists) will not simply give up
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敌人是不会自行消灭的。无论是中国的反动派,或是美国帝国主义在中国的侵略势力,都不会自行退出历史舞台。
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On account of the fact that I was too busy screaming my head off in actual righteous fury as opposed to the more common "yelling is a shortcut", I didn't get a count of the number of police involved but I believe I maxed out at 3 police cars.

Lessons from tonight's rooming

1. It doesn't matter what the Police say when you start the night at the Police Station asking for the procedure you should follow because fuck the fucking Hebei Health Code not working for me.

The water is deep. Keep away. No swimming.
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2. If things at the hotel hadn't devolved in such a way that threats of being physically removed were on the table, the Police would not have come with me to the Hospital for a Covid swab and I wouldn't have been able to get one because fuck the fucking Hebei Health Code not working for me.

3. Fuck the fucking Hebei Health Code.

4. Thank fucking God I know what not to yell with arguing with the Police because tonight was intense. Also, fuck the fucking Hebei Health Code.

Bridge leading to the first of the modern (unfinished) tunnels
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The motorcyclist
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5. I must always make sure to empty my bladder before getting a Covid swab.

6. I don't fucking care what restrictions I'll encounter with re-entering Hebei from Beijing but I need out of this province before I do something that actually gets me in trouble

I arrived in town. I had two donkeyburgers with chopped green peppers. I successfully reserved and paid for the first hotel room I looked at online. And then I went to the police station....

So pretty.....
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Before the valley narrowed to a canyon
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"Hi, I'm about to be a PGI¹ and I really don't want to have any trouble; please tell me what to do." 

We discussed the non-workingness of the Hebei Health Code complete with my demonstrating what happens when I scan the code posted at the entrance. We discussed how this required that my locally performed Covid tests be 'registered' as having happened by way of getting my photo taken during the test as the broken system wouldn't send the results to my phone. They looked at the photos of my test of 72 hours previous and commented that a 48 hour test was required for check-in but "no problem, the hotel can help you go do that after you are checked in" on account of my Travel Code (and GPS tracks) pretty clearly showing that I have been nowhere near anything worrisome.

Image not found :(
I could put clothing on for this photo, or I could mosaic my reflection
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Image not found :(
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And then, when they told me "everything would be fine", they refused to call the hotel for me using my phone cause that was "unnecessary" and I went to the hotel and everything was not fine.

On the one hand I'm inclined to write a blow-by-blow account of all the many ways in which everything was not fine; on the other hand, fuck that shit; and, on the gripping hand², they sure as hell are going to remember last night.

All I really wanted before getting my Covid test was the ability to put my shit in the room and change out of my stank bike wear before going to the Test Site, hopefully in a taxi. I also, as noted in number 5 above, kind of needed to pee. 

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Surprisingly good score on the dustiness quotient is making me very angry about the grimy finger I had at a resort hotel on December's Media Tour
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But, no, that couldn't happen. Starting from a generic "you can't come in here" with a "I don't care that you have a reservation" to refusing to call the police station to ask if I had just been there, to being forced to call the police station cause I was insisting that my having already paid for my room and already gone to the police station to ask them the procedure meant that I damn well was going to get exactly as disorderly as necessary to get things done ...... to having the police show up and side with the hotel because showing up at the police station, asking "what do I do", and then doing what I was told to do was wrong, it escalated and escalated and escalated again.

When things were much calmer, during the process of the police cutting the Gordian knot of hospital registration failing to work for me (because fuck the fucking Hebei Health Code), the one officer chatting with me basically came right out and said I had been on the edge of getting myself in serious shit except that I persistently wouldn't rise to the bait and say the wrong things.

#5
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He was responding to my having just rattled off to him a brief collection of the government departments I do translation for in a "no wonder you knew what not to say and when not to say it".

Things like "You need to follow local laws"" I'm trying to! Why do you think I went to the police station before I came here?" or "What, you think because you're a foreigner you have special rights that will stop us from dragging³ you out of here?""No. But I have rights. And as a foreigner, you know that I'll make a complaint if I have to⁴."

End result, I paid 20y for the rapid result Covid test (instead of free) and they let me check in after I was swabbed.

Fuck the fucking Hebei Health Code and the fucking moron programmer who programmed it.

Sent via WeChat at midnight by one of the officers, I continue to not have Covid
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---

¹ Paperwork generating incident

² This phrase is probably the only good thing to come out of the sequel to Niven and Pournelle's The Mote in God's Eye

³ For the record, every one of the bruises I have is caused by my miscalculating the location of the wall and bodyslamming myself as I walked through a very large very open doorway with no obstructions. They may have even caught this on bodycam. I quite hope that they did and that someone adds Yakety Sax background music to it.

⁴ Unlike my friend David who excels at Sternly Worded Letters, I don't particularly like making formal complaints as most of the episodes that were sufficiently ridiculous as to get a complaint ended with "we investigated ourselves and decided we did nothing wrong". 

Today's ride: 61 km (38 miles)
Total: 311 km (193 miles)

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Lorenzo JaryI was going to comment on your apparent infinite patience - it seems you are human after all 😃. Sorry for all the challenges you're facing, hopefully Beijing will be less Kafkaesque!
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2 months ago
Marian RosenbergTo Lorenzo JaryTrust me, I am not patient. It's one of the reasons that I jump so quickly to yelling at people (that, and yelling working where being polite didn't).
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2 months ago
Marian RosenbergTo Kelly IniguezYeah, that about sums up my feeling
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2 months ago