D2: 正阳 → Nameless Crossroads - Me China Red - CycleBlaze

March 20, 2021

D2: 正阳 → Nameless Crossroads

I'm really impressed with myself for finishing as much distance as I did today. Not only because, if I had any balls to freeze off, they'd have already gone missing yesterday. At least today, if it rained at all, it did it while I was inside the museum.

In other years, in other journals on Cycleblaze, I've commented about how unimpressed I am by the famous Terracotta Soldiers of Shaanxi Province. I've been to them twice, once in 2003 and again in 2017. 

In 2003, I hadn't been very many places in China yet, was still in my honeymoon phase with the country, and didn't read Chinese. In 2017, I knew China well enough to know that the country could do better, a lot better; and that's without even getting into my opinions regarding the management of the site. Short form is that I think what is unarguably the most famous tourist site in China is nothing short of a national embarrassment and while I'm sure you could eventually get me to go back there a third time, it would take a fairly substantial sum of money paid upfront.

This unfamous set of terracotta soldiers (and eunuchs, and dancers, and musicians, and pigs, and piglets, and horses, and wagons) was built about 150 years after the famous set; and, despite being scale models rather than life-size, manages to be a much larger site. By the time my brain was full and I couldn't handle visiting anything else without first getting lunch I had managed the former site of a major temple reconstructed in the "Something Was Here but Isn't" style, the above-ground archeology museum, and the underground museum.

The underground museum is mostly a series of glass bridges over the temperature and humidity controlled excavation pits and, in order to protect the integrity of the site, you have to wear shoe covers to enter. I'm not sure if this is currently an active excavation site as I didn't see any work going on but access bridges on the Staff Only side had been left in place. The one and only entrance I noticed to the pits was last sealed in April of 2020 so if they are doing work there, they have another entrance.

Because I approached the site the wrong way (i.e. not from the expressway), I ended up coming in through an entrance that clearly wasn't intended for tourists. In fact, I was rather surprised to find, upon discovery that said gate wasn't locked, the guard didn't have a problem with me using it so long as I promised that I'd find one of the ticket kiosks and buy a ticket. (Bear in mind, both of the museums I went to scanned my ticket).

On my way to find the ticket kiosk, I ended up at the aforementioned temple-that-isn't-there where I had a lengthy conversation with the site guard all about biking and where I'd biked from and was I aware that with my headscarf, I kind of looked like a foreigner? From there I went to the archeology museum about a kilometer away, then backtracked to the underground museum which is over some two dozen of the eighty some odd pits surrounding the imperial mausoleums.

I'm sure my ticket would have still been good if I decided to come back after lunch but the closest lunch I found (after leaving via yet another gate that clearly wasn't supposed to be used by the public) was something like 6 kilometers of mostly roadworks to the east and I was pretty sure, by then, that I'd gotten most of the site.

My next site of the day was the physical manifestation of idiom in the form of the intersection between the Jing and Wei Rivers. It wasn't particularly interesting. In fact, probably the most notable thing about my visit was that it caused the two women trying to catch me to overshoot because they failed to see me stopped there. They'd been down on the riverside bike trail (which is less a bike trail and more a paved access road for dyke management that has been coopted for use by tourists) and had seen me go past them on the roadside bike lane but I was gone by the time they made it up to the road and decided to chase me.

This was followed by a failed visit to a pagoda (now inside a walled garden/local museum that's appointment only because Covid) and a trip through the countryside to try to find a second pagoda that I seem to have gotten very close to (at the very least I gave up in 庙西村 [Templewest Village] to the west of where the pagoda ought to have been) but which I couldn't find. 

With the dynamo headlight the old excuse of 'not having enough daylight left to keep looking' is no longer a thing but with the weather being what it was, I still needed to find somewhere to spend the night before the sun went down.

Dinner at some nameless crossroads was a bowl of decidedly unappetizing noodles which I finished nonetheless as my body was so delighted by the prospect of calories that I legitimately was having a full body foodgasm.

No particular reason to try the hotel I did versus one of the other ones showing on the map. I didn't manage to get myself registered on the computer but she didn't have a problem with my foreignness, the room had heat, and the beds had electric mattress pads. I'd like to think that my crawling into bed at 8pm was merely because I was chilled but the sleeping until 9am belies that.

Today's ride: 52 km (32 miles)
Total: 125 km (78 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 2
Comment on this entry Comment 0