D52: 北陡→阳江 - Oh Hai - CycleBlaze

December 4, 2019

D52: 北陡→阳江

Few days this trip have been as nice as today was. Although I find myself compelled to go for a bit of a wander (that only added 5 or 6 kilometers to my day) on farm roads, the main road that I'm on is a provincial road in good condition with a general lack of traffic because a) there's nothing here for anyone to go see, and b) there's an expressway with which to not go see it.

However, if I hadn't taken the detour off on to the farm roads, I probably would have been bored out of my skull. It's as if Chinese road designers go out of their way to carefully make sure that the roads avoid anything too interesting. Which, now that I'm grousing about it, I realize they probably do. 

Because roads bring commerce with them, they bring a constant influx of change. No town with a Road running through it is going to have mud brick farmhouses left because the owners of those farmhouses would have gotten the funds for concrete and brick long enough ago that they might have already replaced their original concrete building with something newer and better more than once.

Because I took the detour to the farm roads, I got to see a number of defensive village gates (mostly missing their walls) in a variety of early 20th century styles, a newly rebuilt family temple, and a few abandoned turn of the century villages (turn of the last century that is) where, some time after the new village with its conveniences like multi-storey buildings and air conditioning had been built a few hundred meters away, everyone had just moved out en masse.

Give it another 10 or 20 years and a bit more economic growth and there's going to be a glut of countryside Bed & Breakfast villages around here where people pay good money to spend nights in a luxed up version of an old farmhouse and go fishing in the village stockpond. And, given the way economic growth has sporadically neglected this area, they'll be a whole lot more preserved and a whole lot nicer than many of the currently existing luxed up village houses in places like the mountains of Beijing.

It's a sunny, windy day with more of these brilliant blue skies that belie China's serious air pollution problems (which absolutely still exist just not to the extent that they used to). I'm not motivated enough to request historical AQI data at this time but one of the notable things about my 2008 Tour from Haikou to Beijing is how (rain and drizzle notwithstanding) I somehow managed to go 77 days without a single picture of a blue sky and now it seems like the blue sky days are happening more and more until it's the gray sky days (like Hangzhou) that are the exception rather than the rule.

I've got scads of energy and scads of time when I make it to Yangjiang but there's some really cheap hotels here (we're talking under 40y for a proper hotel) and not only is that not the case with any of the surrounding towns, it's even less the case for any of the towns that are situated in the direction I want to go tomorrow.

So I wander the old parts of town. I try, and mostly fail, to find various historical sites of interest. The memorial to the Battle of Yangjiang exists but it's a lazy half effort of a park tucked in the back of an industrial district where no one ever visits. As for the others, I'm sure those buildings wouldn't have made it on to the map software if they weren't Listed Sites, it's just that they also aren't open or developed sites.

I decide on the cheap OYO hotel near the bus station. It's a relatively new platform that's aggressively convincing hotels all over to China to sign up with them, use their in-house booking system, membership and points system, and which plans to get people hooked on booking with OYO after which they'll slowly start raising prices. Right now, they're actually paying the hotels a small amount per month to agree to be OYO branded. Seeing as this is like the seventh or ninth OYO hotel I've intentionally stayed in this trip because it is an OYO hotel and (with the exception of the time I booked through Trip.com's English platform) all of my OYO experiences have been positive ones, I'd say they might actually know what they're doing.

There's another tour bike already parked in the lobby but the front desk doesn't know where the cyclist is going, where he came from, or when he might be leaving in the morning.

Today's ride: 68 km (42 miles)
Total: 3,262 km (2,026 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 2
Comment on this entry Comment 0