D25: 沙子→龙虎 - China Blues - CycleBlaze

September 18, 2020

D25: 沙子→龙虎

All the oranges I ate the night before and whenever I woke up feeling still a bit hungry were not enough so I made oatmeal in the room before heading down to see what the town looked like in the morning, and still went out for breakfast dumplings and a Coke before I actually started my day. 

I was disappointed to discover that the very worn and faded long form slogans on the wall of an old building that I'd noticed the night before when buying oranges were just birth control policy notices. I'd've thought given the age of the building and the way they looked faded that they were much much older than the 1980s. The internet tells me that a birth control policy has existed since 1969 (just not quite as strict or as heavily pushed) so my feeling the night before, when it was too dark to easily read the content, that this looked "70s or a bit earlier" might not actually be that far wrong.

In 2008, I didn't have a laptop with me and was updating my journal in fits and starts with multiple days being written at a time often as much as a week after stuff happened. As a result, I don't much describe the big road other than as something I "still don't like taking ... [when] smaller ones are available". I don't even mention anything about the town of Shazi other than that it existed and that, 7km after I passed it, I got back on to a small road.

That small road was the road to Xiling [西岭]; is still the road to Xiling. It's rather more paved than it was 12 years ago. And more trafficked. But not as badly trafficked as the provincial road which is mostly nothing followed by bursts of fast moving trucks.

On to the small road, now that I no longer have to pay attention to the traffic, I can devote my internal Grinch to whining about the headwind. It's one of the ones that's gusty enough to be felt when standing still, and, whatever direction I turn in, it seems to always be there with me. The complaints of the Grinch are mostly drowned out, however, by the joyous remembrance of how utterly miserable this road no longer is. Although it was one of the least scenic bits of my morning, the absolute best part had to be the long straight stretch that didn't have sticky brown mud which I had to get off and walk my bike through.

I do not find the hotel I stayed at in Xiling in 2008. I admit to not trying very hard as I only had interior photos and a not so quick circuit of the most likely streets produced enough other amazing old things to scratch at my need to find cool stuff. If that same circuit had, perchance, found a place for me to have lunch, I probably would have made the extra push to at least try to find where the hotel was (though it must be gone), but I didn't, and it was only another 8 or 10 kilometers back out to the main road and another, larger town so I stopped looking.

Lunch (at 4:30pm) in Jiahui [嘉会] actually ended up being dinner because none of the food options that appeared to be available in Longhu held the slightest interest for me (also I still had a lot of oranges leftover). Longhu is one of those perfect examples of the Ye Olde Town that's got nothing worth seeing. Bearing in mind that I don't remember it as having anything worth seeing except the outside of a single locked-up temple in 2008, but, despite huge amounts of money having been poured into to making it tourist ready, it clearly wasn't tourist season.

Furthermore, whatever tourist season they do get is hampered by the town having a grand total (in two hotels) of 11 hotel rooms. I stayed at the cheaper of the two at 60y for an ensuite that had an air conditioner which I didn't use. Most interesting thing about my room was the aggregate floor as it included some pieces of rock which were naturally glow-in-the-dark (and which faded fast enough after the light was out that they clearly hadn't been intentionally doped with chemicals to make them glow). 

I actually had the energy to go farther and cross into Hunan and spend the night in Cushijiang [粗石江] which had many more hotels available and dining but this would have meant missing out on a handful of "same place 12 years apart" photos that I really wanted to take in daylight and that meant more to me.

Today's ride: 51 km (32 miles)
Total: 1,252 km (777 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 1
Comment on this entry Comment 0