D32: 角美→石亭 [Photo Dump] - Oh Hai - CycleBlaze

November 10, 2019

D32: 角美→石亭 [Photo Dump]

NO DRINKING AND DRAGONBOAT RACING; Lifevests must be worn at all times
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I have to wonder, who are these foreigners that-having already checked into a hotel and had a shower-are willing to move to another hotel because "oops, we can't take foreigners". Who are they, and what the hell is wrong with them that they let the hotel kick them out after they've already arrived and unpacked and started to use the room?

I'd previously heard of this happening, though only a scant handful of times, but this is now the second time it's happened not just this trip but this week. Both times that it's happened, the hotel sold me a room but wouldn't let me use their computer to get myself registered all proper like. Only after I was in the room did they make any attempt to register me, not by letting me using their computer the way I had asked and the way registrations are supposed to be done, but by randomly asking people they know in their WeChat contacts, and both times those people suggested "you can't have foreigners, tell her to leave."

Because I asked in the morning (you don't actually think I'd leave, do you?), I happen to know that the person who told the hotel owner to tell me to leave is a police officer. A police officer who, faced with my firm certainty that his instructions were against the law, was too spineless to show up in person and who probably won't acknowledge nor appropriately appreciate the hotel owner's telling me she didn't know his full name and therefore couldn't give it to me so that I could file a complaint.

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(One of these days, I will get sufficiently pissed off at one of the officials giving me this malarkey that I actually will file a complaint. Up til then, however, I will merely threaten to file complaints as the threat that I might file a complaint is apparently both sufficiently credulous and sufficiently worrisome that it opens all sorts of doors.)

I started the day off in search of the historic Tianyi Postal Telecommunications Bank [天一总局遗址] which, now that I've read more about it after not going, is sufficiently interesting that I'm going to keep it marked as a potential site of interest for a future visit to Fujian because this is an awesome province and I'm definitely visiting here again.

I went haring off down a side road that was basically the right direction but a little early in search of a temple that had a 'go this way' sign at an intersection (but which failed to have any follow-up signs after you turned) and found all sorts of other fascinating things including a historic grave turned small park; a bunch of ancestor temples; the original home of some famous guy who really wasn't actually all that famous; an incredibly gorgeous Mazu temple; a Ming dynasty ceremonial stone gate; and a bunch of strange buildings that may have once been used for growing mushrooms, or raising chickens, or something, I forgot to ask and my Chinese friends were wildly in disagreement as to the possible usages.

I would have still gone to the Tianyi Post but the GPS got on my nerves by telling me to turn right and then immediately after I turned right going all "recalculating" on me because it decided, despite my following its instructions, that I was going the wrong way. I pulled my phone out of my pocket, looked at the maps for a bit, and decided to just set it for my next waypoint instead.

Getting to my next waypoint was a lot more fun than my next waypoint. Once again, I followed the sign at an intersection away from the main road towards something that was supposed to be interesting, which stopped having signage well before I found it, and which wasn't sufficiently exciting to warrant an active search. Once again, because I had done this, I was now off the main road and into the interesting village-y bits with historic buildings being gutted for refurbishment, winding roads, little canals, and temples of varying degrees of artistic skill.

It was a great improvement off of the main road, which, although it wasn't a truck road anymore, had clearly been a truck road some 10 or 20 years ago and was now just kind of dusty and sad.

The next waypoint was a series of three bridges, the Big Jiangdong Bridge [江东大桥], the Old Jiangdong Bridge [江东旧桥], and the Ancient Jiangdong Bridge [江东古桥]. Neither the big bridge nor the old bridge were anything special but I had high hopes for the ancient bridge as it's a listed National Historic and Cultural Preservation Site that was built back during the Song Dynasty.

On the basis of it being nationally listed, I can only assume that the ancient bridge is hiding underneath the bridge I crossed - perhaps as an archaeological site. Although the bridge I crossed was actively pedestrianified (to the extent of having cement benches and tables installed at either end), and was one of those narrow things that usually has a very low weight limit, it was a bog standard mid to late 90s thing with a poured concrete deck, concrete railings, and fieldstone pylons.

Although I'd researched a number of nearby places between the Bridge and Zhangzhou City, none of them had reached a sufficient level of interest to be marked as a waypoint so I put my head down and just pedaled along the big main road's bike lanes for a while. The big roads are boring enough as it is, but they are even more boring after you've gotten back from a trip through the villages.

Wasn't really in need of lunch but I saw a tour bike with panniers parked outside a restaurant and had to stop. Chinese guy riding from Zhejiang heading towards southeast Asia. We did the mutual dog sniffing butts routine of comparing gear and talking routes but he was actually finished eating by the time I arrived and just charging his phone (from his gear, I'd say he's probably camping) and we didn't talk for long.

At some point around the time the skyscrapers started becoming visible, there was an entrance to a greenway below the dyke and along the riverbank. By this time, my butt was starting to actively complain about the new saddle so a pleasant ride that afforded me lots of opportunities to get off the bike and lift it over various anti-motorcycle barriers or to take pictures of the scenery was definitely welcome.

I came back up top near Zhanghzhou's historic downtown. For some of the streets, I rode a little, but mostly I walked. Partly because biking on cobblestone sucks, partly because biking in crowds is a bad idea, partly because there was so much to look at, and partly because multiple attempts at adjusting the saddle up a little, down a little, forward a little, back a little, were each only incrementally helping and I couldn't find an actually comfortable position.

I was still short of my personal minimum of 50km per riding day so I continued north from Zhangzhou to the first exurban town with reasonably priced lodging. Did my usual of making sure I was fed and rested before going to the hotel and found them quite pleasant and nice to deal with, at least until after I was in the room and they decided I needed to leave.

Today's ride: 52 km (32 miles)
Total: 1,966 km (1,221 miles)

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