D8: 黄宅→横溪 - Oh Hai - CycleBlaze

October 13, 2019

D8: 黄宅→横溪

Spectacular

The temple is undergoing renovations.
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No single thing that I saw or did today was spectacular. Few of the things I saw or did even rose to the quality of being wonderful and even less of them managed to hit amazing. And yet, when you take the sum total of all the things that happened, it was in fact quite a spectacular day indeed.

I intended to use my computer last night, to pound out a thousand characters or so on the book project. I've got something like four months left before it's due and only six or seven solid days of work to complete but I really ought to get about to finishing it. Especially as the Corporate Client is making noises about shortly sending me a volume of work that will require me to conscientiously spend an hour or three every night before I sleep doing my actual job.

Peeking through a locked door at the frames upon which the crêpe paper skins of dragons and lions are built for yearly celebrations.
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Instead of using my computer, I collapsed on the bed exhausted and achy and went to sleep before it was even 10pm. This, in turn, led to my waking early enough that I at least pulled my computer out to work on my tour journal but ugh the book. It requires thinking. I'll procrastinate on it later.

Last night, the hotel owner gave me directions on where to go looking in the morning for a seamstress, and, although it took me a few circuits and u-turns, I found her. The problem with having favorite jerseys and with "randomly" deciding on what to wear for the next three months by picking and choosing among my favorite jerseys meant that the newest shirt is 5 years old, the oldest is 14, and two of the four have broken zips that I discovered only after I left.

A Daoist good luck/fortune charm depicting Taizu.
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Since one of them is my thermal long sleeve that I traded from Polygon Sweet Nice at the 2007 Tour of Hainan, this means I've been wearing and washing the VeloChina jersey every day. Even with laundry soap, however, it's gotten to where I really really want to change my shirt.

I had breakfast and coffee while watching a pair of women haul buckets of water up from a well fronting the main square and literally beat their laundry with sticks. It looked quite labor intensive but, at the same time, was clearly a choice they were making as the likelihood of any of the nearby houses not having plumbed in water was pretty low.

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A laundromat on the other side of the square. At 5元 for a standard load of laundry, it's actually kind of pricey.
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When I finally got around to dawdling my way back to the seamstress, it turned out that not only were the zipper pulls missing but the zips themselves were bad and she was waiting on my approval to completely replace them. At 15元 per jersey, I thought her prices kind of steep but if it meant getting to wear a different shirt tomorrow, it would be money well spent.

My next round of dawdling was spent checking out the old buildings in the cluster around the square. Since I didn't exactly have the highest hopes for my day beyond this particular cluster of old buildings, and since I needed to give the seamstress both enough time to finish my zips and to finish whatever she was doing for the customer before me, I spent a lot of time reading the Rules for preservation of old buildings, on Fire Safety, and about minutae such as the honored members of the village who had served in the armed forces and other such dross on display in the Youxin Hall [又新堂].

So far as I could tell, there was no correlation between only having a black and white photo from being a teenaged soldier and having actually died while serving.
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A few of the old buildings were getting some necessary repairs but, by and large, it was really just a few big compounds that were genuinely old. Everything that was a hodgepodge of the owners replacing parts Ship of Theseus style until you could tell that yes indeed this definitely was an old village without there actually being much of anything old about it.

New roof tiles
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Ongoing repairs
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Picked my jerseys up from the seamstress along with a handful of epically odd patches for me and my friends on the grounds that this was likely to be the best I'd get all day and I should take some color where and when I find it.

I'm gonna sew the Retarded Tiger to one of my panniers
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I hadn't been on the Truck Road but a short while when I saw the sign for the Shangshan Relic Site [上山遗址] 1.8km away. The attempt to prettify the intersection with a fake falling apart building made of rammed earth and decorated with potsherds did nothing to convince me to take the detour; the Baidu Baike entry on the other hand.... it had magic words.

Words like "museum", "Neolithic culture site", and "free".

Last tour that left from Shanghai I thoroughly enjoyed the Liangzhu Museum to the north and west of Hangzhou. Same province and same general topic. What were the chances it would also be excellent?

All told, most of what made the museum interesting were the life size dioramas in the (original?) excavation pits of the archaeologists doing archaeologist things. That and the grandpa who somehow figured out how to play solitaire on what was clearly supposed to be an interactive educational kiosk.

Not the slightest hint of shame
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Actual bits excavated at this site rather than a reproduction
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And if nothing else had happened today, the things I learned about rice cultivation and the age of the Shangshan Culture would have been the highlight.

But the way out from the Neolithic Archaeology Site Museum took me past more old buildings and two notable historic temples.

The first old building was one of those where I basically wandered into someone's home and started admiring the decorations. Sure the door was wide open and sure the local Tourism Board had gone so far as to put up a welcome sign (in three languages) encouraging random passersby to come on in and take a look, but that didn't make it any less weird.

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The first of the two temples was undergoing some active renovation work which meant that I was able to ask locals about some particular oddities in the art that just didn't make sense to me and to have my Curiousity Itch scratched with the gratification that it didn't make sense to them either.

I very definitely should not be allowed to be wandering around this place in this condition
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Or climbing over things. That's certainly something that should be forbidden.
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The GPS wanted to send me straight back to the Truck Road but there was a sign at the intersection near Temple #1 (太祖庙) about Temple #2 (九皋庵) so I decided to go there instead with stops for a number of not open to the public old buildings and their Cultural Revolution era graffiti.

大办农业
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I thought maybe if I asked the neighbors who had grown up with this written on the building next they might know the words but they were only able to puzzle out a little more than me. 普及大寨 X X X 在 X X 领导是关键
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No one could even begin to guess at this
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As I got closer to Temple #2, all directional signage disappeared on the basis that anyone heading that way would of course be traveling slowly enough to be asking at every alley and lane. By this point, my GPS had figured out where I was trying to go and was willing to take me there. Which is good, cause I'm still not sure how to pronounce the name.

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Huge modern looking murals to characters from The Water Margin
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But why is he chainsawing fire wood at the temple?
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The particularly notable thing about these carvings is how easily reachable they would have been to Red Guard vandals and yet they remain intact
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Upon leaving the temple and crossing a small bridge next to a smaller and much much older (17th century maybe) bridge, I suddenly found myself in cityland's ugly cousin factory sprawl among the ranks of student drivers taking their final test.

Took me a very long time to find anywhere to pee or eat and when I did it was a most ordinary and unsatisfactory bit of chain fast food cause I was starting to get grumpy and irrationally picky and had passed multiple food options for no good reason at all.

Leaving the city, I turned south at the most extraordinary intersection with the coolest traffic lights I've ever seen.

There were regular lights too.
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And found that my Provincial Road had become a National Road and that I was still going to have trucks and traffic and nastiness to suffer.

Thinking I would make my mind up about turning off for water or fruit, I stopped at the first intersection past the Intersection and spent a while investigating my route in detail. I was too far to conveniently backtrack and, what's more, the Road up ahead had a tunnel! Not just any tunnel either, it was over a kilometer long and looked to be truck infested.

However, there was an original road up over the ridge so I pressed on.

Got off to walk across the Road to take the old way and stayed off until I hit the top. 

No longer the provincial road
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On the first very steep bit I felt no shame in walking as an ebike rider made his passenger dismount and then zigzagged his way up
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A sharp steep curve where a landslide took out part of this road
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Looking down at the tunnel Road I'm not on
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Stopping at a spring for water
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Old and new safety barriers
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Zoomed my way down the other side barely stopping for anything as I was kind of tired and more than a little hungry. There was a Memorial Garden for Chairman Mao that teetered on the edge between heartfelt sincerity and schizophrenic obsession, a locked up ancient temple, a stone bridge with some interesting carvings, and the first of the two towns where I could potentially spend the night.

And they were having their yearly Town Fair.

Today's ride: 37 km (23 miles)
Total: 573 km (356 miles)

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