D6: 湛江→安铺 - China Blues - CycleBlaze

August 27, 2020

D6: 湛江→安铺

Because I stayed in the nicest hotel in Zhanjiang the past two nights, I knew that when I got to Anpu I would want to stay somewhere relatively nice. I wasn’t in love with the place where I may have technically committed assault on a police officer two years ago on my way back from Vietnam (cause lets be honest, I put my hands on him, and the only reason it wasn't assault because is because, by the time I put my hands on him, our comparative social status had been well established) but I knew that the quality was quite alright. 

Most unfortunately, my memory of the quality being “quite alright” was on the basis of the sorts of places I usually stay and not on the basis of the sort of place I had just been staying so, other than the perfect ease with which I was checked in (gee, they remembered me), and the fact that the place does not seem to have been getting a whole lot of upkeep the past two years (it was already on an obvious downwards trend in 2018), it was actually rather a disappointment in terms of what I paid for versus what I got.

There wasn’t a whole lot interesting to say about today. I joined up with the section of road that runs through what appears to be a series of naval barracks at a different point from 2014’s trip such that I only had to pass through one gate which I most obviously shouldn’tbe passing through (despite the lack of a guard at the gate and a lack of signs more explicit than “please drive slowly, soldiers training”, I'm pretty sure foreigners shouldn't be going through military bases). I explicitly made a point of waving at every truck and every cluster of soldiers so that there was no question of whether or not I was hiding my presence (in the event of anything adverse, I figure the fisherman’s hat ought to make it very hard for anyone to claim that I’m attempting to hide my presence).

Last time, with Tennessee, when we got to the first gate, and I realized the road we were on was going to pass through a base, I put my camera away in my bag and I didn’t get any pictures of the awesome 70's water tower with the Maoist slogans. This time around, since I didn’t come across the first gate at all, my camera was on my back the whole time (I could have put my camera away but that would have required stopping and fidgeting with my camera while being a foreigner on a Chinese military base). I made a judgement call regarding a lack of obvious things that they might not want me to take pictures of in the vicinity and got a few snaps of it for my historic propaganda collection. There's a limit to how far I’m willing to push my luck and that’s the only thing which I photographed in the base area.

After the base and the whole way up to Suixi, I was quite unintentionally on the same road which I’d been on with Tennessee. I know this because of a number of items (both photographed and remembered) which I passed at approximately the same intervals as when I'd been riding with him. My favorite of these is a giant Deng Xiaoping mural outside a school. I hadn't photographed this at the time because, frankly, it's hideous (not to put too fine a point on it, but the elderly Deng Xiaoping is the Deng that Southern China loves and the elderly Deng looks like a wizened troll monkey from a bad 1980s film). However, since that time, I've further broadened the scope of my collection of historic propaganda. 

From an introduction to the school in question (apparently first built in 1917) and then a further introduction to the road which I was on, this particular farm road had once been one of the main roads between Zhanjiang and Suixi and between Suixi and points south. I do so love being literate.

From Suixi to Anpu,I have no idea where I was most of the time. I know that there were points where it was the same road as with Tennessee because I recognized certain things (especially the very tall palm trees which had gotten him so excited shortly before we had come to an actual banana tree with actual bananas growing on it) but most of the time I was wherever the GPS put me. A few times I missed a turn but it seems that all the options were roughly the same as, by whenever I had been notified and then gotten to a point where I could conveniently turn around and go back to the turn I’d missed (usually less than 50 meters after missing the turn), the GPS had already recalculated a route for me that involved my going straight ahead.
Which was fine by me.

Perhaps my favorite part of the day (other than periodically opening up Chinese TikTok to see the progress of the various arguments people were having over whether or not my grammar was correct in what is currently the most viewed video—at 189,000 views as of this writing) was the small watchtower I found near a water tower. The video I took of my looking for this watchtower (a task much harder than I thought it was going to be) was another one of those ones which, quite unintentionally,got huge amounts of engagement. Other than the people who didn’twatch all the way through to my actually finding the watchtower and who confidently (and incorrectly) informed me that the squat building next to the water tower was a water tower, there were the ones who got into an argument over what kind of defensive tower it was, and whether it had been used against the Japanese or against bandits.

I was dragging ass by the time I got to Anpu and I knew that tired, hungry, thirsty Marian is a bad match for any kind of discussion with a hotel so I continued past the hotel to the first suitable looking restaurant where I had an amazing stewed tofu and shellfish dish over rice. The owner was a pleasant enough person who brought his not quite 2 year old over to wave “hi” at me so I decided to give the kid one of my drilled pennies.

Once in the hotel room I showered, thought strongly about washing my laundry, and collapsed on the bed not to move (with the exception of getting up to go to the bathroom) until morning.

Today's ride: 67 km (42 miles)
Total: 320 km (199 miles)

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