D1: 唐山 → 鸦鸿桥 - A China Coddiwomple - CycleBlaze

May 29, 2022

D1: 唐山 → 鸦鸿桥

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I don't know whether or not to be pleased that today was all "mostly" flat as it just adds to my feelings of patheticness regarding being exhausted.

I love the windowless rooms of the cheaper hotels, love knowing that if I wake up at 7 and change it's because my body has decided I've had enough sleep. What with coffee making and oatmeal eating, it still takes me a decent amount of time to get out of the room, but I'm actually 3km down the road and in the bike shop by 8am. I've got some weird squeals that need to be tweaked out, my front racks aren't quite properly adjusted for my front panniers, I lack a magnet for my odometer, and I'm hoping that they can help me with a better way to mount my combination headlight/speaker/powerbank.

Turns out that my kluge of "what was available in the room as shims" (bandaids and a condom) is actually enough, I just needed to have someone with a better screwdriver than what came with the mount tighten it a bit more.

If I'm brave enough for this bathroom, I'm brave enough for anything
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The GPS telling me when and where to turn makes the various directions blur together in a way that they never did when I used to be constantly checking the map to figure out where I was. Considering that the GPS also allows me to find my way to some pretty gnarly destinations, I think I prefer it, but at the same time, I miss that firm knowledge.

My first stop post Bike Shop is the Tangshan Earthquake Memorial Plaza. With the exception of the shape and reason for the statue, and the currently closed museum off to one side, it is remarkably identical to every other giant plaza at the center of a Chinese city.

Then it's ride ride ride ride with very few stops of more than a minute until I'm sheltered beneath a bridge waiting out a 10 minute rainstorm. The stone bridge which is my destination is a county level historic preservation site. It's also not so much a bridge as it is a handful of very large paving stones in the middle of a road.

To add insult to injury, none of the ripe berries on the nearby mulberry tree are reachable
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I have to pass through one of those village checkpoints to get there but the lady manning it couldn't care less about writing down my info as I'm not a car and her duty starts and ends with cars. There's some of that "whoa, a foreigner" but it's less xenophobic and more "this is so cool". 

Given that my way out of the village involves a couple of short dirt paths that have been made around the barriers, it's obvious that part of her not caring is because she knows she can't stop anything smaller than a moto-trike.

I break for first lunch (a bowl of dumplings) at noodle shop with prices that wouldn't have been out of place 10 years ago and, after mishaps ranging from dirt roads to cracked concrete, eat second lunch (a can of tuna) in the parking lot of a closed tourist site I had expected to find closed.

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5 yuan!
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From here my choices are either Yutian County or a town within the county limits. I pick the town cause it's just a little bit closer and I'm hoping for less hassle.

I get directions to the Police Station from some obvious off-license hacks near the park and I'm still not sure if I went about things the right way. Maybe I should have just gone straight to a cheap hotel.

It's just, I know the local Health Code isn't working for me and although I'm perfectly happy to make trouble for the police, I don't want to make trouble for the hotels.

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We'll skim over the reporting up to Exit & Entry and being told to drive me to the "foreigner hotel" in the nearby city, cause you know how that played out. Instead, we shall head straight to Yutian County having a quasi privately issued C19 Control Notice that is stricter than what is on the State Council platform¹.

Sadly, the people on the other end of the phone had already conceded by the time a friend of mine found the article (in Chinese, on a central government website) about counties absolutely not being allowed to do that.

I'm reasonably sure my having a pre-filled out Temporary Residence Registration Form on my person came in quite useful, primarily on the grounds of "people who print out forms in advance are people who are preparing to not lose fights". Since it has my passport number and other details, it's possible though that the person on the other end accessed whatever record it is that makes people suddenly become a lot nicer to me.

My favorite part is the sign which says both "please wear a mask" and "no smoking"
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Trying to figure out what to do with me
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As part of mutual concessions, since my last swab was 48 hours ago, since their very not kosher notice wanted 2 tests within 48 hours, and since I was threatening them with "either you do things my way and I register properly or you get to explain to your bosses that the foreigner instead found someplace to stay without registering" I agree to go to the Test Site at the expressway exit.

As previously noted my name breaks the database, so how do they fill out paperwork on me and how do we go about proving that I've had a test within the last 48 hours if I can't show the results on my phone?

We take a picture of me getting tested.

Test #3
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Obviously, if anything were abnormal, they would track me down; I'm a foreigner on a bike, I can't be that easy to lose. Therefore, a time stamped photo of me getting tested is my results.

I end up in the first hotel after the expressway exit. She's pretty sure that they can't take foreigners but reasonably willing to listen to "I've already talked to all the people and gotten permission, and by the way, here's an already filled out Form".

Some new additions to my Rural Safe Electricity Usage series
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On the basis of the transformer building they were on being from 1983 (there was a publicly scannable QR code with info) I put them at mid to late 1989s
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One of the people who stopped by my Douyin comments section was quite certain of 1994
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¹ Upon further reflection, I'm fairly sure that the Notice isn't super public because requiring 7 days home health monitoring on all people who came from a low risk area would prevent all travel of all kinds and would get their asses handed to them if someone were to get this in writing and then report it.

Today's ride: 63 km (39 miles)
Total: 125 km (78 miles)

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Comment on this entry Comment 2
Lorenzo JaryGlad to see you're over the (initial) hurdles and have set off! Good luck!
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1 month ago
Marian RosenbergTo Lorenzo JaryThanks!
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1 month ago