D8: 昌平 → 朝阳 - A China Coddiwomple - CycleBlaze

June 6, 2022

D8: 昌平 → 朝阳

Making me choose between drinking wine or eating falafel. It's cruel I tell you
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I had not intended, at any point, to enter the City. When traveling by bike, there's rarely anything I find super interesting at the center of large urban conglomerations. There's museums and stuff like that, obviously, but—assuming that they're open—I am not super in the mood yet for a museum and that's coming from the point of view of having liked every museum¹ I've visited in Beijing.

Now that I'm back down to being only a couple dozen meters above sea level, I'm uninclined to turn both north and uphill to make it to Yanqing 延庆 where, as long as I'm still in Beijing, I'm sure to still have all the "foreigner" problems I'm already having; and, once I leave Beijing, will hit Hebei at a point at least a full day north of my current position. Instead, I make the decision to turn to Mentougou 门头沟 and, as I take my bike to the Giant three doors down from my hotel, task my assistant with trying to figure out what places in Mentougou are currently open and accepting guests.

Indoor dining restarted today!
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Baba Ganoush
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While making coffee at the Giant and getting those minor little tweaks (like air for my tires or chain lube) that I'm perfectly capable of doing myself but that "having someone else do" is an acceptable socializing ice breaker for, I get a message from Jennifer—Kehillat Beijing Community Coordinator and fellow touring cyclist nutter—in my Trip WeChat² Group that, now that I was already out of the mountains, there was a hotpot dinner at her place tomorrow night and was I staying on her couch?

On account of this being a perfectly terrible idea that would require my heading east by southeast almost all the way to the 3rd Ring Road, when I wanted to actually be going west, I weighed up the various costs and benefits and immediately said yes.

The best part of waking up
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I think my favorite part is the big brass bell with his house keys attached
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There's nothing nicer than having a problem with something clearly very simple (in this case, swapping batteries for my taillight) and having someone go "that's clearly very simple, you shouldn't be having a problem with that" and then watching them also have a problem
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When you factor in the things I had been planning to do after arriving in Shijiazhuang 石家庄 and taking the train back to Beijing (such as saying hi to my editor at the Foreign Languages Press or getting interviewed by the China Daily) and the amount of time it would take for yesterday's Central Government announcement that provinces and cities are not allowed to impose additional quarantine restrictions on people coming from low risk areas, it even seemed like this might even mean that I might cross back into Hebei and only have to deal with the lack of a local health code and not also be put in lockup for having a star³ on my Travel Code⁴.

One can hope at least.

Very uneventful ride into the city. I couldn't decide if it was better than my 2016 entry to Beijing with Snowflake because of which road I was on, because of improvements in traffic law awareness and enforcement, because the recent soft lockdown of the city meant that cars simply weren't on the road, or because I didn't have her constant nattering⁵.

Of course I would find the only 600 year old bridge in the vicinity
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Look how wide it is! It must have cost a bloody fortune to build.
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Went first to Serk Cycles who, despite no longer having a full service shop, still took the time to put my bike on the stand and get the Patterson to correctly shift again after the whatever that caused it to suddenly stop doing that on Day 1. 

Then, to Jennifer's place and out to dinner by taxi.

Having skipped a whole bunch of test sites on account of them either not being open or the lines being too long, I stopped at this adorable mobile site but they said they were only handling that specific yellow coded community.
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Even at 5% my weak ass was tipsy by the time we got out of the cab
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¹ I wasn't positively impressed with the Forbidden City / Palace Museum the one time I went back in 2011, but I would have been if I hadn't already been to all sorts of other places where the historical architecture had been copied off the Forbidden City.

² If you have WeChat, contact me at MarianR to be added for on the road chatter (most frequently about the statue peen I've been photographing for Jake) and updates as they happen.

He's a grower....
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....not a shower
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³ Indicating that, in the past 14 days, I've been in a city with active cases.

⁴ You give permission for the applet to query your phone's mobile service provider and ask where you've been in the past 14 days. This then produces a green, yellow, or red arrow.

⁵ One of my very judgemental ways of assessing a person is "do they talk more than I do?" I know my babble for a negative character trait that I work very hard on; so, out-talking me to the point where I've got trouble getting a word in edgewise is a pretty serious flaw.

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