D38: 三江- 地坪 - China Blues - CycleBlaze

October 5, 2020

D38: 三江- 地坪

The shrines have disappeared again. The shrines have disappeared and the road I'm on has nothing old.

For a while, there's some old stuff on the other side of the water (and shrines too) but I had decided not to cross the water when the bridge was one of those "also a hydroelectric dam" types because of the strong chance that the next bridge (some 20km away) would also be the same type with roughly one in three of the marked-on-the-map bridge/dam combos I've seen so far this trip having the bridge part closed to the public.

When it's one of those mixed Sino-European style buildings that looks like it could be 1930s, I actually stop and consider going the 5k back to the bridge but it was a gentlish downhill which means the reverse will be an uphill and today's already looking likely to be long. Besides which, my original reason for not crossing the water (the possibility of not having a bridge back to this side) remains in effect. This is really a rather silly lack of foresight on my part as the river is not currently undergoing flood conditions and I've been seeing scads of ferries (both official and non) at every likely place for a crossing.

(In fairness, in 2015 and 2017, in flatlands west of Shanghai and approaching Anhui, I often found myself going dozens of kilometers out of the way because the marked ferry was gone and no bridge had been built.)

I've switched from going in a vaguely downhill direction (as evidenced by the flow of the water) with a surprisingly large number of up hills to going in a vaguely uphill direction with a surprisingly large number of down hills.

I'm actually starting to get rather bored of beautiful river valley scenery and with every additional shrine or temple or thing I see on the other shore, I get progressively more annoyed at myself for not taking that bridge when I had the chance.

The day isn't a total bust though. When there's an inexplicably large climb (surely the road could have continued to follow the water?) I manage the whole thing without getting off and walking. I see bolts of handwoven homedyed indigo fabric drip drying for the first time. There's men loading donkeys with gravel to go up the side of the mountain for building an electric transmission tower which I suppose makes perfect sense given the steepness of the surrounding terrain but it always amuses me when donkeys are being used as a construction tool for modern infrastructure projects. 

A village that I pass through has the second "Three Represents" slogan that I've seen/noticed either this trip or ever (it's from 2002, so it would have been common when I first arrived and didn't speak/read any Chinese) paired with a larger slogan about eradicating "illiteracy among able bodied adults" and "universalizing basic 9 year education" by the year 2000. This is worthy of getting off my bike and making a TikTok video which means that I also notice yet another "Safe Rural Electricity Usage" information sign for my collection of ephemera.

In a country where gun ownership is illegal, there's just something incredibly awesome about warnings that you should not shoot at birds perched on electric transmission lines. I'm not really sure how to exactly go about putting it into words but it's the understanding that just because something isn't supposed to exist, it is known to still exist, and please don't be doing that... I guess it's kind of like the public health announcements about making sure you wear a condom if you go to a brothel.

There's an intersection where I have a choice to go 10 kilometers up a very tiny stream valley into Guizhou or where I can continue ahead by 8. Either way I'm supposed to be able to find a hotel. The hotel that answers the phone on the road I'm on wants too much money compared to the one that answers the phone in Guizhou so I leave the river valley for the stream valley and all sorts of wonderful potholed goodness that I'm not stopping and photographing and photographing and photographing because I know I'll be coming back this way in the morning.

First hotel (not marked on maps) is a restaurant combo. They have more than one type of room available up until I come into the light and try to scan the Guizhou Health Code on the wall (turns out this version won't work for foreigners) at which point he's "booked full". The sign for the second place is next door but it's actually down a winding series of footpaths so I call in advance and confirm availability before going looking for it.

I'm not saying that there wasn't forethought in my immediately taking my luggage off the bike and humping it up the stairs before even seeing the room because there was. I knew exactly what I was doing; I was making it impossible for them to easily say "no" to me and guaranteeing that if any "no" happened, I'd already be in the room and they'd be forced to be getting me out of the room I was already in.

Which is, in fact, exactly what happened.

About 5 or 10 minutes after I was convinced to pay 60 for an ensuite instead of 40 for a toilet-down-the-hall and was half unpacked and getting ready to make the hot oatmeal I'd been wanting to eat all day, there came a knock at the door and the man who had met me downstairs was with his wife and they were telling me to "get out".

Not happening. I try to close the door. She tries to force the door back open. I close the door on her in ways that probably leave bruises. Discussion happens through the door. Yelling happens through the door. I get asked if I'd just open the door and scan the Health Code. I agree to open the door, blocking it with my body, and the Health Code is all the way away on the far wall. I can't scan that from here. I'm not leaving the room. "Oh but please" she tries, politely. So I take a step out of the room, she dives toward it and I grab her wrist in ways that probably hurt for two or three days. "You will not go in to my room and you will not touch my things." I take a few more steps towards the wall, dragging her with me like a recalcitrant child. 

Code won't work. Doesn't like me being a foreigner.

I'm back in the room, trying to get the Guizhou version of the nationwide version of the code to load on my phone while repeatedly slamming the door against body parts that keep squeezing their way in. "If you have a problem, call the police! I'm not leaving" and, having gotten the door completely closed, I move a piece of furniture in front of it. Then I make my dinner and take a hot shower.

I have no idea who the men in masks were that came to the door maybe 20 minutes later. They identified themselves as police but they weren't uniformed and they didn't have badges. By this time, I'd gotten the national version of the Code to work (though it really didn't like that I didn't have a permanent address in Guizhou) and after taking a photo of my passport, everything is fine, of course she-I-can stay. So sorry for the confusion and trouble. Have a good night.

I take the opportunity to ask if I can have the opportunity to have the controls for the heater from Husband (who is with the masked men). Wife is somewhere else. I imagine from the number of times I slammed the door on arms and fingers and her foot, that if the adrenaline has worn off she's probably starting to hurt. 

I'm not proud of myself for beating up on a woman in her 60s. 

I make another bowl of oatmeal with bananas, take a phone call from Mike, and go to sleep.

Today's ride: 71 km (44 miles)
Total: 1,912 km (1,187 miles)

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