D4: 南浔→双林 - Oh Hai - CycleBlaze

October 4, 2019

D4: 南浔→双林

This is what a water town is supposed to look like
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I'm sick this morning. I've actually been sick since the first night but I was doing a reasonably good job of ignoring it until today. Today, I can't ignore it. My head hurts even with the cold medicine. The overall fatigue feeling that I've got from head to toe is concentrated around my lymph nodes. There's no doubt that I'm definitely sick.

After getting up sometime stupid early to empty my bladder and my lungs, I get a good hour or ninety minutes of extra sleep before someone starts ringing the bell for our room. And ringing and ringing and ringing and ringing. When I get up and open the door and glare at the security guard standing outside and rasp "what do you want?", I discover that I've lost my voice.

We have a rather interestingly shaped room that made it fun getting the bikes in.
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Danny was far more willing than I to leave his bike in the lobby as no one would be able to figure out how to ride it without falling over five or six times first.
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Last night when we left both our passports at the front desk so that they could register us by themselves because they were very sure that they knew how to do it and very sure that they didn't need my help, they did something wrong. And now the police are apparently downstairs and the security guard has come up to get our passports to fix a problem that would otherwise be going away on its own by our plan to check out in the next hour or two.

I get my passport and hand it to Danny while he gets his. Now that the person who doesn't actually speak Chinese is back at the door, the security guard decides to be loquacious and my fucking raspy voice that's practically a whisper when I shout at Danny what's being said is making it very hard for a half awake Aussie to figure out.

They don't actually need both our passports. Just his. In other words, at least one of the two foreigners was correctly registered, and the only reason the police know about there being two of us or that one of us is unregistered is because the front desk fucking told them

If you can get away from the main roads, there's a lot of pretty stuff around here
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Also a lot of companies that make elevators. And elevator towers that exist for the sole purpose of letting customers try out elevators.
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Since we're up, I pull out the coffee kit and make a shot of moka for each of us. I'm currently using pretty crap local Hainan coffee beans and it amuses me no end as Danny—like almost every other caffeine fiend I've given this coffee to—insists that he's absolutely fine without the sweeteener or the sweetened condensed milk, that he likes dark coffee, that he wants to try it unsweetened first... and then does an immediate reversal as soon as he tries it. 
Some Hainan coffee beans are good.
These aren't those.
They are also much too dark a roast for moka and rather stale.

He claims not to be super affected by caffeine but he's definitely more awake now. As we pack our respective bags, we have a series of very one-sided stream of consciousness conversations because I hmm at the right moments to convince him to keep talking and occasionally prod with a raspy Selma Bouvier attempt at a question. The lack of a voice though makes it kind of hard.

Lots of signs about fines (10 for pedestrians, 20 for non-motorized vehicles) running lights or jaywalking. No evidence that these rules are enforced.
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We bike to the old town proper for breakfast dumplings but they're checking tickets this morning and neither of us is interested in paying 95元 to go inside. Instead we eat just outside the gate. I'd been hoping that another cyclist, another foreigner, a companion of any sort for a short while would mean shared meals of the type I don't eat on my own but he quite likes dumplings.

In fairness to Danny, dumplings are delicious. Its just that this is about to be my staple food for the next three months.
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He then heads north in the general direction of "back to Shanghai" via elsewhere while I aim for a pharmacy and the south.

Amoxicillin is still OTC in this part of Zhejiang. Requires less effort to get than cold medicine even (turns out that the cold medicine I brought from Hainan has caffeine in it so I needed to get more last night). At a speed that feels like it must be at least partially psychosomatic, the insides of my head start making all kinds of gurgling and popping noises.

I'm feeling immensely better albeit still kind of draggy ass when I get to Shuanglin [双林] but I'm all ready to keep going after a prolonged lunch of soup wontons, rehydration, and a detour to check out a (closed) temple. When I get back on the bike, my ass (or more specifically some nether areas that are not my ass) are less inclined to keep going than the rest of me is. I just can't find a comfortable position that doesn't seem to bother some unhappy skin in areas with more than the normal complement of nerve endings.

The window roundels are so badly done from an artistic point of view that I'm sure this would have been an awesome place to visit.
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I stop to take a piss at a gas station where the attendant is very firm that I must park my bike in front of the convenience store and not the bathroom (so I take it into the bathroom with me) lets me know that the aforementioned delicate skin has made it past merely "unhappy" to those little tiny wounds that sometimes show up the first few days of a tour. This rapidly leads to me making the decision to return to Shuanglin as there's quite a lot of quite pretty quite untouristed water town that I try to convince myself I'll actually go out and look at once I've checked in to a hotel.

There's lots of hotels scattered about but I aim for someplace I noticed near the water town area on my way out after lunch. Called 水闸旅馆 [Sluicegate Hotel], it's located a few meters away from one of the many sluice gates and bridges common to water towns. It's a proper old style place that feels very early 1980s. The wizened gremlin of a granny who shows up after I hoarsely shout "is any one here?" a few times is halfway up the stairs with me to show me the rooms when she comprehends that the "I have a passport" when asked about an ID the first, second, and third time, all conspire to mean "I'm not Chinese" and then she won't show me a room at all.

Once I succeeded at getting on to the little roads, I did a pretty good job at staying on only the little roads.
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强力维护社会稳定 "Strongly Protect the Stability of Society"
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She'd said they were 40元 so I doubt I'd be loving it or that interested but it sets the tone for hotel #2—which is creatively named Pair of Lions Hotel [双狮宾馆] after the pair of stone lions in front of the entrance—where the front desk flat out refuses to show me a room unless I pay for it first. It's still quite cheap at 80元 but I won't know if it's a room worth staying in if I can't see it first. However, she won't budge.

Hotel #3 on 塘桥路 [Tangqiao Road] is named after both the road and the bridge at the north end of the road. On AMap, it's listed as being 98元 but they tell me they're 120元 tonight cause of the holidays. I'm in no mood to argue. I get myself registrated on their computer mostly by myself but with interludes of the owner's middle aged daughter trying (and failing) to make the scanner work and the software completely crashing once. 

Much later that evening, my solution is deemed not a solution, and the police show up to do battle with the computer.
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Eventually, I fool the software with the trick of making a picture in Windows Paint that says "No Picture" but they're (rightfully) worried that the police might see the registration, see that's it not quite done right, and come on by. We go back and forth on the topic of whether or not I should go to my room now and take a shower first (them) or whether I should wait in the lobby for the possibility that the police might randomly show up (me). I'm not sure how much I'll want to put pants back on if the police show up after I've taken them off so I end up sitting and waiting for about 10 minutes before heading up.

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When the police do show, quite a few hours have already passed. I find myself either mutely unable to get anyone to listen to me as the same non working things are repeatedly retried or them getting discombobulated because I'm clearly YELLING at them even if the shouty body language is the result of my trying to make my voice loud enough to hear.

It all gets figured in the end though so no harm no foul.

Today's ride: 32 km (20 miles)
Total: 300 km (186 miles)

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