D6: 杭州 → 次坞 - Oh Hai - CycleBlaze

October 11, 2019

D6: 杭州 → 次坞

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A bride and groom posing on a bridge at Hangzhou's West Lake Scenic Area
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A long long time ago, back when I was just starting to be actually fluent in Chinese, I realized that the best way to bleed off stress and frustration was to pick some hapless wrongdoer and just verbally go to town on them in front of an audience. This is not exactly what one would term "nice" behavior but, as a general rule, I don't yell at people who aren't currently doing something wrong or socially unacceptable; and, who know it.

If doing this helps to keep me from actually losing my temper in the situations that are worth losing my temper, then it's worth it. If there's the slightest snowflake's chance in hell that being loudly shamed by a foreigner for line cutting, littering, or holding your child over the landscaping instead of taking them to the toilet causes them (or any of our spectators) to change their behavior, then it's even better.

It's a popular place to be photographed.
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It's still not very nice though. I've got other, more pressing, character flaws to work on though and I'll leave this one for now.

Despite a nicely dark and quiet windowless hotel room and despite not falling asleep until 1am-ish, I was up crazy early (like 6am) and champing at the bit ready to resume touring. No one in my normal life (myself included) would ever believe me to be a morning person but being on holiday does something to me and makes me want to go.

Last night's room had a minor problem with the wiring such that the LED bulbs on the ceiling were still getting a trickle of power and gently glowing all night. Combined with the glacier wallpaper, it was odd (to say the least)
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Of course my bike and most of my gear is in the office. Which I don't have a key to. And which is locked.

And, of course, I still need to stop by that lovely Giant bike shop nearby that reversed my handlebars and there is no chance they'll be open prior to 9am but I am definitely awake and definitely not going back to sleep.

I'll try and try and try and try but it's not happening.

Police kiosk and patrol bikes.
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From when I check out of the hotel in Hangzhou and set forth into the wide wide world until I try to check in at a hotel in the evening, I do not yell at anyone. I'm having a perfectly lovely (albeit with disgusting weather) day and the only hints of particularly uncivilized behavior that I stumbled across was me gambling on getting away with being on wheels on a pedestrian street to avoid a bit of complicated unpleasant traffic and me quietly taking the Finger Wag of Justice from the security telling me to get back where I belong almost immediately after I shortcutted past that part.

I ride through the city to West Lake, alongside the West Lake to the mountainy bit of the scenic area, up into the mountains, through a tunnel, down to the banks of the Qiantang River, along a Greenway atop the dyke, back in to the mountains, and cross the Qiantang on the road deck of a railway bridge from 1937.

First bridge across the Qiantang.
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Once across the Qiantang, I alternate between fields of dreams waiting for the city to catch up with the infrastructure and nasty trucky things where I'm grateful to be told to go ride on the sidewalk. There's construction. Then not. Then again. Then not. An old town on its way to being "olde" that's had all the life sucked out of it. A nice countryside ride along yet another dyke. A last little ride in the dark because now I've got a headlight and I don't need to race the sunset.

I am mistaken for being from Xinjiang. I am asked if I am Russian? Australian? Singaporean? I am waved at by other cyclists on boring empty roads that are good for training rides. People come up behind me and ask how far I've gone. I get my bottles refilled at a police station. A stranger buys me dinner. 

Other than the haze and the pervasive ugliness of the edges of cityland, it's just an all around nice day.

Sliced Bamboo, Pork, Garlic, and Pickled Potherb Mustard
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So, of course, it turns out to be one of those days when I'm arguing about lodging.

Now maybe I could have (should have) just given up and gone somewhere else but the absolute vehemence with which the hotel owner was dead certain that the police were the problem and therefore she was really sorry but she couldn't let me stay, it didn't bode well for my going looking. I'd already seen a blingy expensive place of the not very nice variety just up the road but everything else on the map (all two of them) was the same quality level as this place and I just didn't feel like it.

Pagoda seen from the Qiantang Bridge
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I was a horrible nuisance. I was a horrible unpleasant unkind nuisance of the really annoying sort. I was pushy, demanding, unkind, and really somewhat of a bitch.

I was also scrupulously polite. I may have been frustrating and annoying and in the way and I kept trying to shove my money at the owner, but I was never not polite.

In fact, the only time I rose my voice, when I very thoroughly ROSE MY VOICE to the sort of bellow that could be heard by neighbors across the street, they (both the police and the hotel) had been fobbing me off on the promise of arriving soon for most of a half hour, were going on it being illegal for me to stay, and I just EMPHATICALLY STATED it not being illegal and the non illegality of its not illegalness being national law of the People's Republic of China!

Once you have this many pigeon scarers, it's safe to say the pigeons have won
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I then laid down an ULTIMATUM of either telling me my room number NOW or calling the police and telling them to come here so that they could tell her to tell me my room number. 

Which got her to call the police. 

Who listened to her description of my ongoing antics. 

And who promptly decided that they were very busy and unfortunately completely unavailable to come by tonight as the very busyness they were currently busy with was going to keep them busily occupied for an indefinite while that was definitely defined as "as long as I wanted to see them" and then gave her instruction on the photocopying of passport pages.

Old, not yet demolished, buildings in a town-that-was but no longer is
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I'm vaguely confident that if I were forced to draw on my connections I probably maybe potentially could likely get someone to officially agree that I'm right. Perhaps. I'm not sure though. I've never actually tried. 

So far as I can tell my research indicates that I am, in fact, right. But mostly it indicates that they generally don't know; it also indicates that they know they don't know. Which means that seeming like I know is a scarybad notgood situation clearly above their pay grade.

Cherish Mao Zedong Thought Forever and Ever
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But hey, even though I would really rather have never played in the first place, a win is still a win. It's still one more night in China that I've not carried a tent and sleeping bag because the density of hotels is enough and my income is enough that I shouldn't have to sleep rough unless I actually want to be camping.

A particularly patriotic 70th anniversary billboard
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Today's ride: 70 km (43 miles)
Total: 464 km (288 miles)

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