D23: 上街→福州 - Oh Hai - CycleBlaze

October 29, 2019

D23: 上街→福州

Just when you thought you'd seen everything
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In the morning, everything hurts. I think, if my hair had nerve endings, my hair would hurt. I had noticed that the bed was hard when I first got up to the room but it didn't occur me until I was packing up in the morning to peek underneath the sheets (which I had thoroughly rucked about in my tossing and turning while attempt to find a comfortable position). There's a mattress pad but it's on top of a solid piece of wood. There's literally no mattress

I had thought that the bricked up window was a case of someone building a new building right next door but both the camera obscura of the holes in the poorly done job as well as attempts to peak through them shows me opens out onto something with green. It would appear that this is, instead, a replacement for a broken window.

It's a degree of cheap and sloppy and careless that, even after this many years in China, still manages to surprise me. Even though "chabuduo" (meaning "close enough") culture is so commonly a thing that there's a word for it, to have this kind of a "repair" in a hotel room (even one that cost what I paid for this room) is pretty ridiculous.

I'd noticed this particular old building on my way to the hotel last night and, since it wasn't very far away, made a point of coming back to it
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I especially like how, in recent years, China's attitude towards inconveniently placed old buildings has gone from "demolish them" to simply pretending that it's not there in terms of road building
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The building sprawls across at least half a lane of the newly widened road
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I get my deposit back from the front desk and make a pointless point of grousing about the previous night's reception since I recognize the man at checkout as one of the people who came to deal with the 'problem' (i.e. me). He gives me an answer that is literally a Chinese meme for "weak excuse" and likely about as sincere as the people who tell me all their rooms are sold out.

Other than leaving a review on Trip.com (which I notice hasn't shown up) there's not a whole lot else I can do or am particularly willing to do for what this room cost but still... if I'd known it was going to be that much trouble, I had lots of other places I could have tried first.

I circle back to see the old building sprawled halfway across a lane because China is currently gung ho about preserving old buildings instead of just knocking them down but, at the same time, is kind of chabuduo about road planning and, well, if you had some reason to be in that lane, you better move quick cause there's a building in it.

Weaving my way past the market stalls outside, I go into the main hall where the family shrine is. It's clearly an in-use house and in-use shrine, so I don't go any farther.
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Once again lovely rafter carvings.
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Once again, all the human figures are vandalized
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Breakfast acquired and eaten at a stall across the street from the old house, I put the Lenovo Customer Care in my GPS, send a message to Mr. Q to tell him I'm on my way, and get going.

Even though being in Shangjie technically puts me already inside Fuzhou, I've got nearly 20km to go from here to Lenovo.

It's a mostly unremarkable ride through the city. The GPS telling me when to turn and when not to turn means that I don't have to pay any attention to where I'm going or what I'm doing which leaves me plenty of time to do other things like read people shirts or dodge traffic. I continue to be uncertain whether or not this a good thing versus my previous methods of city navigation.

On the one hand, I more or less made it to Lenovo by the fastest possible route. On the other hand, short of putting Lenovo's address in the GPS again, I don't think I could tell you where it is or how to get there and, as someone who occasionally goes by the moniker "the living map" not being able to tell you where someplace I've been is or how to get there is practically unthinkable.

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Don't recognize either of them
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This one looks to be a scholar
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Judging by the clothing, I'd say "warrior" of some type but s/he seems to be holding a bottle in zer hand
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Of course, it's when I'm stuck in tight traffic crossing a bridge through a construction site is when Mr. Q calls me to ask exactly where I'm going in Fuzhou and I don't know. I don't even know the street name. I let the outbrain from the internet do my thinking for me and just punched 'navigate to'. I'm also misprounouncing the name of the bridge I'm on so he's got no real idea where I am.

When I get off the bridge, I send him a location pin for where I'm going. (Q's not used to having a voice give him turn-by-turn directions while he's biking—and, of course, Mr. Q meets me by bike—so he ends up missing it and calling me and even though I'm already there I don't actually know where I am so I have to give the phone to someone who works there... and he's not super useful/helpful either though it's hard to tell if this is because he's the unobservant type who doesn't know where anything is or if it's because he's the kind of person who is used to GPS navigation for everything and doesn't know where anything is.)

At the Lenovo in Fuzhou, all the ridiculous hoop jumping that Lenovo China made me do to register my already existing international warranty with them amounts to precisely nothing as the computer system shows me as having a standard one year warranty that expired 10 days ago. No Accidental Damage Protection. No three year extension. None of that.

Traffic like this is totally the best place to get a phone call
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As a bridge geek being forced to cross a bridge that is in the process of being replaced with another bridge and which is being built around the bridge I'm currently crossing is super cool
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I'm told that they actually plan on keeping the old bridge deck (not exactly sure why or how) because it's historic
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Fortunately, I've spent much of the last two weeks bitching out everyone I could get in contact with internationally. Just to name a few of the things I've gotten up to: I've started a chargeback process with American Express and threatened to write a letter of complaint to the FTC.

So, while I still had to pay out of pocket for the screen replacement (USD $228 equivalent), I'm currently being told that Lenovo will reimburse me that money. I decide not to make a point of trying to go after them for the extra nights' hotel I have to pay for (because the China Customer Service refuses to order parts in advance or to any location other than the one which is currently looking at my laptop) since I actually have enough work on my plate that stopping in Fuzhou for an extra day is reasonable.

Mr. Q shows up on a gorgeous Campagnolo equipped Pinarello whose flat handlebars will be ignored on the grounds that he's using it as a city bike and he's in his 70s. He noticed a chain hotel during his time trying to find me and the Lenovo and we walk over there, him uncertain that they will take a foreigner cause "you know, some small hotels can't" and me pretty certain that they won't when I see which brand it is.

However, other than the currently on duty person possibly not knowing how to operate the registration system beyond taking photos of the passport pages which have information that will need to be uploaded, there's no problem whatsoever.

The original suspension arches will definitely have to go.
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Back on land, they're blasting bits of mountain away to widen the road here. All this metal stuff is to protect road users from bits of flying rock.
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Not one but *two* demolished bridges as I cross this bit of water
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I go up to my room, shower, change into normal people clothing, then come back downstairs to go out to lunch with Q. He suggests places to visit while in Fuzhou that I won't end up going to partly because I get busy with work and partly because the majority of city sites of interest just don't interest me that much. After lunch, he arranges for someone from his preferred bike shop to come meet me at the hotel to give my bike a going-over. I'm completely willing to go to the shop but he insists that, at 10km, it's very far away and I shouldn't bother.

This is a man who organizes bike races who knows that I biked here from Shanghai. And now that we are in the city, he still has the mentality that the bike shop is too far away for me to go to. Maybe he means too far away for me to conveniently come back from if I have to leave my bike there? I don't know. But, since I don't actually get the address of the shop out of him, I go with waiting for the bike shop owner to meet me at my hotel.

By the time Bike Shop Owner arrives at 7ish, I'm about halfway through a thoroughly enjoyable document for Corporate Client of the kind that leaves me feeling smarter than I was when I started. Of course he doesn't have any of the necessary tools to look over my bike at a hotel but he's brought a van and will bring my bike back to me some time tomorrow.

Judging by how much of the missing bridge was across the channel, I think it's missing on purpose
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Since I had to put pants on to answer the door of the hotel room, I decide that it's time to go out for dinner and, soon enough, am reminded just how much I hate walking.

Today's ride: 20 km (12 miles)
Total: 1,422 km (883 miles)

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