D53: 湄潭→新舟 - China Blues - CycleBlaze

October 26, 2020

D53: 湄潭→新舟

From Meitan, I'm heading towards Suiyang [绥阳] which is apparently also pronounced Xuyang according to every single local person who can't figure out where I'm going because it's not enough for the spoken language to be largely divorced from the written one, the Chinese also have to just randomly decide on different pronunciations for some characters. I'm going to keep calling it Suiyang though. Because I'm stubborn.

It's mostly National Road for me today. The bike shop spent a lot of time on deciding which road I ought to take and as their eventual decision to tell me to go this way matched up with both the least worst topography and the best options for lodging, I took it despite it being mostly National Road. Perhaps because there is also an expressway, although there is still some truck traffic (as you don't need to pay tolls to use non-expressways), there is very little.

The day has its ups and downs but holyfuck do I have so much power compared to the old chain and besides which, I got a phone call today that has me floating on cloud nine. I've had some pretty exciting phone calls in my day but, even with the understanding that nothing said in this phone call can be trusted to actually be true until some foreigner I know goes to Rongjiang and tries to check into a hotel, this is quite possibly the best phone call I've ever gotten in China.

It's the Public Security Bureau. They got my complaint. They talked to my assistant. They got my phone number from my assistant. And they would like to both thank me for bringing this issue to their attention and to apologize to me. 

He's using the formal language too.

I'm getting 您'd by someone from the Public Security Bureau.

I don't even know how to put into words to describe to someone who isn't familiar with Chinese culture how fucking big a deal it is for me to be on the receiving end of that pronoun (which is basically "thou art" instead of "you are") at any time, let alone for the person who is using it to be with the police, but it's a really fucking big deal.

The phone call was 27 minutes long.

With highlights that including him letting me know that he had not personally run into enough foreigners to have ever checked the rules relating to our lodging prior to checking with the Exit & Entry Administration shortly before this call, I had a 27 minute long phone call from an upper level police official apologizing to me.

Today could have been the gnarliest mountain with the ugliest scenery in 5 degree rain and it still would have been epically awesome after that phone call.

Not only did I manage to wring an apology out of the police, I've now got a pretty good idea of what some of the magic words are to use should I run into a next time where the police - by behaving inappropriately towards me - display that they are also in the habit of behaving inappropriately towards the people in their neighborhoods.

Perhaps my last 20 kilometers are done on a mostly straight road that, in terms of Guizhou topography, is very nearly flat. It looks like it is supposed to be the kind of major road that Goes Somewhere, often a somewhere with lots of buildings, but none of the buildings have been built, and its been long enough that the road is almost but not completely finished that local farmers have started growing vegetables on the median strip.

It becomes more finished (but still mostly unbuildingified) the closer I get to the Zunyi Airport, though, once I'm out the other side, it rapidly becomes a mix of super rural and obvious military stuff. At one point the GPS tries to send me down a gated road (the gate is open) with a No Admittance sign that probably only refers to the road next to it but, by this point, I've gotten close enough to the town that will be my evening's destination that I have other options to take.

The local specialty is something called Sour Dumplings but it turns out to be almost identical to the wontons you get just about everywhere else, so much so even that the comments on my TikTok are either "omg, sour dumplings, I haven't had those in soooooo long. Missing home right now" or are about them being wontons and not dumplings.

Hotel for the evening is thrilled to have his first foreign guest and lets me stay for free. Doesn't even seem to be aware that I'm 'internet famous' (12,000 followers isn't a lot in term of "internet famous" but it's not a little either). Just thinks its cool to have a foreigner.

Today's ride: 53 km (33 miles)
Total: 2,623 km (1,629 miles)

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