D4:下邽→老庙 - Me China Red - CycleBlaze

March 22, 2021

D4:下邽→老庙

The distance which I covered today was nothing short of pathetic. I have my excuses (which I'm pleased to say mostly aren't related to my either being lazy or out of shape) but, dear God and little fishes, to not even manage 50km on a day with nice weather and easy terrain..... that's beyond atrocious.

It all started with a combination of a long lazy lie-in and a slow breakfast. I'd had plenty enough sleep so I didn't make coffee but it was still pretty chilly outside and there's all sorts of other ways you can dawdle when you don't want to go outside. 

After I made my hotel happy by posting a video about how lovely they were at only 80y a night (which, to be completely frank, is also my way of flying under the radar on posting videos that otherwise will get taken down on the topic of "no really, foreigners can legally stay anywhere"), my first stop of the day was a 1,700 year old pagoda at a nearby Buddhist nunnery.

As per the usual, the act of taking video takes about five times as long as photos on their own would take. Prior to the bit where I was sitting by my bike editing a video because it's just easiest to pick location tags when you're still st a location, I also had substantial interruptions in the form of a phone call from my lawyer and one from the Public Security Bureau.

The lawyer: good news. Because it's the sort of case which oughtn't need to require anyone's physical presence, we were able to file in a local-to-me court as a case which will probably be heard "on the cloud". Cloud court is something which China has been seriously pushing since Covid but, as far back as 2012, I attended an online session with a client (which was notable for being held via QQ and not a dedicated judiciary platform).

And another two week clock starts where they get to refuse to participate in mediation.
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The Public Security Bureau: ummm. Well, there's not really a whole lot of good reasons to be getting a call from them. That they are still failing to grasp the basics of "the company that has never had an office doesn't require it's employees to work from the office it doesn't have" is a bit of a concern as the residence permits for both my American employee and myself are going to be up soon but we pay all our taxes and can produce paperwork to that effect so, hopefully, the awkward silences on the other end of the phone line will mean that they finally got the point. This time. Maybe.

Last time they came out to do a surprise check of my office, they managed to report no sign of my American employee working at the office (which happens to be my apartment) despite confirmation from my neighbors (for whom gossip is a sport) that no one so much as attempted to enter my locked building (or the other two locked buildings whose address is often misrecorded as mine) in search of me.

The temple was just touristy enough to have no photography signs cause most people with cameras just can't understand how to be respectful in a place of worship so that, plus the people actively doing the sort of prayer stuff that would have led to my not hanging around, meant not spending a lot of time around the I'd guess early 19th century Guanyins nearest the pagoda. I skipped the main sanctuary altogether and was putting the final touches on my video, when I got invited to lunch.

The fourth person I attempted to turn down at the lunch invitation was a shaven headed nun, so lunch happened after all. And then, of course, showing them the video I'd taken of their temple. And discussing my route.

So, when I finally started moving for real at 1:00pm, I had a whole 2km completed!

Nothing much of much interest for most of the day. Pedal pedal pedal. Noticing how little time it takes (it's only been 4 months since the last tour ended) for me to get back out of shape even when I haven't gained back too much weight.

Wanted very much to go to the Tang Dynasty Qiaoling Tomb but Qiaoling Town was a dusty depressed kind of place, had only one 招待所 (a particular kind of low standard guest house) showing on the electronic maps, and was at a time of day where stopping was pretty much out of the question.

Thus, I ended up going to Laomiao which was just as dusty and depressed but which had a good eight or nine places I could choose from including a lovely 商务宾馆 (business hotel) that was trying so very very hard to emulate the early 90s aesthetic that I found it near impossible to believe it was actually built in 2012.

Pictures from the in room Service Guide
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Snazzy padded pleather
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Phone numbers of the other rooms at the hotel (no phone in my room) and a number to call to order food
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An anti-slip sign that's just crimes against typesetting, and an inset tile in the bathroom wall that's basically soft core porn
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Not only does the frosted glass bathroom door correctly have handles on both sides of the door, neither side has broken off. Someone really spent on quality fixtures.
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Western toilet since at least whenever the floor was tiled.
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Damage to the wallpaper mostly mended with matching wallpaper.
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Today's ride: 42 km (26 miles)
Total: 218 km (135 miles)

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