D19: 古占瑶寨→水晶 - China Blues - CycleBlaze

September 10, 2020

D19: 古占瑶寨→水晶

Today was an absolutely glorious day. The word splendiferous might even apply. This is both because today was almost entirely downhill but also because the weather was good, and no one did anything that so much as even made me want to yell at them.

Even road works couldn't put a damper on my spirit.

There was scenery, things and places I recognized out of photos of mine, I managed the morning's climb without walking, and nothing actually hurt. Also, although I paid more than I should for it, I restocked my honey bottle with a rich dark honey from a beekeeper tent.

With my reaching Tongmu at only 30 kilometers into the day, the hotel from 2012 apparently not existing, and my frankly being sick and tired of sheer number of interactions I'm having with the police this trip, although Tongmu had made it on to my itinerary because their police had given me a good impression in 2012 and I wanted to stop and say "hi", I didn't.

I also didn't go by the hotel that I stayed at in 2012. I couldn't find it by name when searching maps, I don't have the GPS tracks from 2012 saved, and it didn't occur to me until this writing that the photo with the name of the hotel also has a phone number I could have called. It was quite the dump 8 years ago and the only reason I would have for going back is to see if they still have their mid-90s poster with the illustrated Hotel Rules and to a) try to convince them to let me buy it, or b) take better pictures so I can make a higher quality reproduction than I've previously made.

Continued past Tongmu first on a road that wasn't the one I'd been on in 2012 and then on a road that must have been. In neither case was anything the slightest bit familiar about the road. I gather from what I wrote 8 years ago that I was in a bit of a homesick funk that part of the afternoon as the scenery and people were a little too much like Hainan and I'd been gone almost 3 months at that point. It doesn't help that the scenery-while pretty-is neither unique enough or dramatic enough to warrant much in the way of photos (either then or now).

In Shuijing, I had a choice of three possible hotels. After having a mostly unmemorable dinner where the restaurant's small child kept playing with the clickyclacks on my wheels and worrying both me and Mom that my bike was going to fall on him, I picked the hotel farthest off the main road. The hotel owner let me behind the desk to register myself; the registration system cooperated and let everything though go through on the first try; and, he not only let me use their washing machine to do my laundry, he also gifted me with a local pomelo.

While I'd been behind the desk registering myself, the owner had taken a picture of my passport and sent it via WeChat to his local police station to let them know I was there. An officer came by not to ask me Covid questions (hallelujah) but to take my passport back to the police station so that they could register me. After a momentary bit of pleasant confusion over the fact that I was already registered because I had already been on the computer and had done it myself, the officer handed my passport back to me. Formally. Respectfully. And, with both hands. 

(I wouldn't usually go out of my way to mention the proper etiquette on the part of this police officer other than his generally giving me a good impression and the fact that the next night's officers (who did not give me a good impression at all) failed to display manners anywhere near as fine or refined. Didn't even look directly at me when handing my passport back one handed...)

Today's ride: 51 km (32 miles)
Total: 937 km (582 miles)

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