In the beginning - A China Coddiwomple - CycleBlaze

May 22, 2022

In the beginning

At the Grand Relaunching Ceremony of the Hainan International Media Center
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I've written an awful lot of pre-Tour introductions over the years and it's getting increasingly difficult to come up with something catchy and amusing that will attract both the people who don't know me and the ones who do. 

Beginning at the beginning:

In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth and the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Then God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

Okay, maybe that's going a bit too far back....as everyone of taste and culture knows the creation of the Universe by whatever being or force that created the Universe made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move¹. It was, however—like most things of import—something which us little folk had no control over.

I'm Marian. Called "Brucianna" on some parts of the internet for a in-joke that originated on alt.fan.pratchett back in Usenet days, I'm also known by my Chinese name "岳玫瑰", as "Cyclist Translator" if you're coming here from the Travel in China During Covid groups, "Empress of the Universe" if you mostly know me from Hainan Foreigners, and "我是凡一" if you came by way of Chinese TikTok.

I am probably doing the Hat again this year. Haven't 1000% decided yet.
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In 2002, I moved to China for "one year" to teach English while I finished up my grad school applications and, well, one thing led to another and it's been 20 years and I still don't have so much as a Master's Degree.

In 2005, I stumbled into cycling as a hobby and—unlike many other hobbies—it and Chinese language stuck with me long enough that they are kind of a basic part of my personality.

Trying it out for the first time in 2008, long distance (as defined by being more than 1,000 kilometers) self-supported tours became my personal preferred mode of vacation with the 2012 Tour where, in the immortal words of some idiot² I once pissed off, I found myself "cycling across China with some cunt-like death wish" instead of working 7 hours a day.

The arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 led to my becoming active on public facing social media which led to my starting to make short videos which is why I now manage to somewhat awkwardly wear the title of wanghong (or "influencer") and why I expect my 40,000 follower count on that platform to more than double by the time this year's trip is over and done with.

For this year's Tour, I also expect to to take no less than five Covid tests; to spend about three months on the road; and to end up in the back of a police car at least once.

As for the rest of it, well ... just like life in most respects ... it's going to be a long, strange trip indeed.

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¹ Douglas Adams, Restaurant at the End of the Universe

² Because I'm an ornery cuss, I initially wanted to make his expletive laden and oft-mispelled rant about my inadequacies as a project manager or translator a more substantial part of my introduction but I was persuaded not to.

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