D7: 次坞→黄宅 - Oh Hai - CycleBlaze

October 12, 2019

D7: 次坞→黄宅

Chinese has a proverb "挂猪头卖狗肉" (Hanging a pig's head but selling dog) that never really made sense to me since dog is currently and traditionally was more expensive than pork.
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In any case, they'd like you to know that their freshly slaughtered beef is definitely beef
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In the morning, on my way out of town, I accidentally found out why the police in Ciwu have told the small hotels that they can't have foreigners. While looking for breakfast after crossing the main road I found a large sign with a sketch map of the tourism area. It wasn't much of a sketch map nor much of a historic tourism area (certainly not enough of one to encourage people to come from other places and intentionally spend the night in Ciwu) but it was a recognized tourism area nonetheless.

Most of the characters were illegible but I was able to crowdsource the reading as "紧跟华(国锋)主席 进行新长征" Follow Chairman Hua (Guofeng), Proceed With the New Long March". Seeing anything for Hua Guofeng is very rare.
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Built in the 1940s, after the founding of the People's Republic, this building became the Ciwu Township Bank
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In the 1980s, it was repurposed as the hospital. Then, in the 90s, it became the central kindergarten. Before finally going back to being a residence.
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These are some of the nicest hammered metal door coverings I've ever seen.
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With the exception of the entire province of Ningxia, my experience indicates that the worst places for being told "no foreigners" are the places that might have foreigners. And even with my unreasonably having a pleasant (well, for me at least) conversation with the police almost every evening that I was in Ningxia and most of my evenings in Gansu, the ease of dealing with the situation was always directly proportionate—in the wrong direction—to the likelihood that they'd ever in their lifetime seen a foreigner.

Bend over backwards friendly and helpful in the middle of nowhere versus actively being a pain in the ass in the cities.

Of course the resurfacing and hot asphalt was while I was going down what should have been an epic downhill.
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And heaven help you if there's a youth hostel nearby to where you want to stay. Because the "no foreigners allowed" vocalized by every small hotel within a kilometer radius of the international hostels is universally caused by them having previously dealt with those foreigners who, for some reason or another, were kicked out of the hostel.

I had my breakfast noodles and coffee at a noodle shop close to the entry to the old town. The noodle shop closest to the entrance only had dog meat and cautiously made sure that I knew in advance that I didn't want to eat there and that there was somewhere else I'd rather eat instead.

Excellent breakfast noodles at a place selling "Ciwu Handmade Noodles". Unexpectedly, Ciwu Noodles continued to be a thing for the next 30km
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Fed and hydrated, I checked out the old town and was singularly unimpressed. There were one or two particularly old buildings that, had they not been locked up tight, potentially could have been interesting, or could have been like wandering into someone's private living room (which I've accidentally done before).

South along the main road for a good long while, everything from the paper maps to Google and AMap calls it the S103 but stone markers so new that they still have plastic wrap are calling it a national road. For most of the way, it's just unexciting the way that national roads are unexciting. Sometimes it gets busy with vehicles, sometimes not. Sometimes it goes through towns, sometimes not. Mostly it just goes and goes and goes.

I detoured to check out this temple which the door dog was determined not to let me visit. Even though his leash gave me room to get by, I decided not to antagonize him.
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Old buildings on an attempted side road.
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I try a couple times to make a turnoff and explore and see if I can quietly parallel the big road along the older small roads through the villages that—especially in the flat areas—line both sides of the road, but, for the most part, this fails. Many of the villages, both the ones I poke my nose into and the ones I don't, all seem to have one or two or three old buildings but there's not enough through-road-ness to make it worth all the wiggle zigging and getting on and off the truck road. 

Apparently BP and Sinopec are cooperating around here
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So much traffic
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I imagine that the original Road must have been a lot less straight and must have gone through each of the villages here and back and there and over which is why the current Road is able to so neatly go straight down the middle without leaving a wealth of obvious scars in the form of demolished or bisected buildings.

I finally find a way that takes me through some lovely countryside alongside a reservoir while only adding 5 or 6 additional kilometers to my day. There's another 6 added after that to head to a larger town when I get in contact with the lone guesthouse shown on AMap and discover that they are a bit too luxurious for my budget.

The reservoir road is a pleasant break
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I regretted taking the obvious pedestrian path almost immediately but continued anyways. On the plus side, I now know that my current rig is light enough for carrying up stairs cyclocross style
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A statue of Huhu the Fire Prevention Tiger
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All in all, nothing particularly exciting happened today.

I had some truly delicious bowls of noodles. I was mistaken for Xinjiangren only three times (one person asked me directly if I was from there, two asked if I had biked "all the way from Xinjiang"). Other than the one who was at my hotel in the morning filling out the paperwork that went with a photocopied passport instead of a proper registration on the computer which I could have used if they'd let me, I didn't speak to a single Man in Blue. My first hotel let me behind the counter to register myself with no complaint and even asked me to teach her how it was done for the benefit of future guests.

However, all in all, a pretty uneventful day.

I am absolutely in love with this traditionally styled building the approximate shape and size of a roadhouse where travelers would have slept
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Located over the pond where women would do their household washing, it's full of communal laundry sinks and ebike charging outlets.
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Also, it was next to my first open temple of the trip
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Today's ride: 72 km (45 miles)
Total: 536 km (333 miles)

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