D10: 良田→陆川 - China Blues - CycleBlaze

September 1, 2020

D10: 良田→陆川

It was a pretty day, and - at least until the inevitable evening altercations with authority - it was also a pretty uneventful day.

My general preference in terms of writing journal entries is that I write them the day after things happened as I figure that anything which has slipped out of memory by 24 hours after was something that probably wasn't all that interesting.

However, for this tour, even if you don't count the time that's being spent every evening responding to my hordes of fans on Chinese TikTok (or creating a daily slideshow of best photos), I've got substantially less time than I ought to have for writing as I'm spending that time doing things that have not happened on past tours and probably won't be happening on future ones.

My formerly twice a week lengthy phone call with my Best Beloved turned into a daily thing when I was stuck in Quarantine and bored out of my ever loving skull (seriously, while I realize that most of the people reading this are probably getting really really tired of shelter-in-place by now, you honestly have no idea what it's like to spend two weeks locked in a hotel room). Then, when the US decided that completely ignoring sensible guidelines that had been proven to work in theoretically less organized countries was the way to mishandle the pandemic, the daily calls continued. I'm not entirely sure how we manage at least an hour every evening when his day is made up entirely of kittens, computer programming, and the terrors of having a housemate, but we manage it; and, as long as I have no idea when I'll actually be able to see him again in person, we'll keep managing it. 

Also, while announcing my presence to the local authorities is generally a crapshoot of possibilities ranging from "no one gives a fuck" to "temper tantrums as an surprisingly effective negotiation technique", it's trending more towards the latter than the former with even the hotels that are pleasantly happy to have me having to scan codes and fill out forms and report my presence to people who then must show up and ask me in person all the same questions again.

It's petty of me but, even though I know that "August 2002" is not the answer they are looking for, I refuse to answer the question "when did you come to China?" with "March 14, 2020" (the most recent entry stamp in my passport).

I'm on a bicycle. I'm on a bicycle and even if I weren't a fairly reasonable distance from the closest national border, the borders are effectively closed (even if you are a citizen or you got a PU Letter for re-entry, flights are at least 3x the normal price and can be cancelled at any time); and, everyone who comes in must go through 2 weeks' quarantine and must have a negative Covid test to get out of quarantine. 

To act as if I somehow could be where I am while still being a potential infection vector without anyone noticing my presence and stopping me is patently ridiculous. It becomes even more ridiculous when you consider the evening (not this one) where the local CDC had my phone number because the previous town gave it to them. I realize that this is the country that invented bureaucracy and I realize that the penalties for being the official in charge in the town that missed their chance to stop community spread of Covid are quite severe but jesus fuck is this ridiculous.

The cops and nurse in Zhanjiang (the only actual city I've been in) are, so far as I can tell, the only ones who have been aware of how ridiculous their presence was.

In any case, I biked from Liangtian to Luchuan. Managed to avoid the main road very nearly the entirely way. Stopped at a number of marked points of interest that were utterly and completely uninteresting but made up for this by accidentally finding a temple that had been renovated in the early 90s and which was full to the brim with Very Local Art that, despite what some of my TikTok followers said, wasn't all that bad; it just wasn't slick professional mass produced quality.

The part where I was 'forced' on to the main road, I could have actually turned back and taken the older road. I had ended up where I was because I was looking for one of those marked "sites of interest" that leaves you questioning how on earth something gets marked as a site of interest and my butt hurt and I thought it would be simpler to just take the straight route. So, of course, I got roadworks.

Once in Luchuan, I had a terrible time finding a hotel, as every hotel that I set my GPS to direct me to was non obvious once I got to the point where the map thought the hotel should be. In one case, there was a foot spa with the same name as the hotel but very clearly no hotel. In another case (I don't actually remember if this is one where the GPS sent me or if it was one that I saw from the road), the Front Desk got very pissy about a bicycle in her lobby and wouldn't even consider telling me anything about rooms or showing me a room unless I left the bicycle parked on the sidewalk where bicycles belong.

The place I ended up at had no problem with registering me, no problem with letting me behind the desk, and no problem with me taking the bike up to my room in the elevator. 

The police, who showed up an hour after I was asleep and who couldn't seem to grasp the concept of my explicitly saying "I need to find some clothing and get dressed" as a reason to stop knocking on my door were just a pain in the ass. I especially liked the part where, twenty minutes after they left and I'd gone back to sleep, the CDC (having gotten my phone number from the police) called me to ask me all the same questions.

Today's ride: 51 km (32 miles)
Total: 497 km (309 miles)

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