D52: 山口 → 三都 - A China Coddiwomple - CycleBlaze

July 30, 2022

D52: 山口 → 三都

As with 7 years ago in Shankou, I go to visit the old street. Last time, I knew about it—we knew about it—because Myf is incredibly good at getting people to talk when he talks to them. This time, I knew about it because I'd been before.

As with the pagoda on the outskirts of town, the passage of time has improved the memories of what there is to see. Now knowing how to look for them and when to detour, I've seen dozens of similar streets in similar or worse states of decay with more slogans and at least as interesting ones. This was, however, my first introduction 'in the wild' as it were to a 农业学大寨 and I have to admit that, even if I have no way to ferret them out, there's definitely some stories to be told behind why and how the slogans have been defaced.

The buildings are crumblier than before. The few that were still in use are all marked Dangerous and everything is taped off with No Crossing lines. The residents of the few modern buildings that face the Street tell me that the government plans to make this a patriotic Red Tourism site but, even with Shankou's connection to the Harvest Uprising, there are other places with more intact¹ history that I feel are better candidates. 

On the other hand, the near lack of anything remaining might make this a better site for development as it means less in the way of things that need preserving and more in the way of things that can be completely built new from scratch.

Riding south from Shankou, I am constantly worried by Maps insistence that the perfectly gorgeous road which I'm on is under construction, and fairly sure that the "missing bridge" mentioned on the one sign is going to throw a monkey wrench into the day but there not only turns out to be a footpath available, the 18th century stele on the footpath indicates that once upon a time, this was the road. 

I spend perhaps an hour at the spring nearby making and drinking coffee before hitting the road again because sugar and caffeine isn't enough and I really really have to find somewhere to eat.

Although I will find random things like a crumbling mansion set among a cluster of modern buildings whose owners seem not to care about the family heritage and a miniature public library inside a bus shelter, I will not find anywhere to eat until the National Road and the town where Myf and I spent the night.

My destination of Sandou is chosen because it's the last place with marked lodging before my turn-off to continue south. I'll pass the first hotel for looking too expensive, get a nasty rejection from the second on account of looking to Uyghur, and go back to the first where I find that the price (80y) isn't actually unreasonable at all (particularly when you consider them having an elevator).

Then, because I've suddenly found myself with nothing left in my Alipay, the pinch of my still not having been paid by my large state owned media client causes me to decide that the late lunch was food enough and I can eat some fruit in lieu of dinner.

¹ The building where the Shankou Meeting took place having been destroyed in a flood in 1971

Today's ride: 46 km (29 miles)
Total: 3,043 km (1,890 miles)

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