D1: Haikou City to Beihai City - Tetchy Days in Vietnam - CycleBlaze

February 4, 2018

D1: Haikou City to Beihai City

Heart 0 Comment 0

Speaking of that uncooperatively cold weather, it was uncooperatively colder two or three days ago when I planned on leaving back in those not really planning days when I sketched this trip out. Not that it matters since I was flooded with a ridiculous volume of work and still suffering from a horrific cough that I picked up on the airplane back to China a little less than three weeks ago. Weather, work, whatever, plenty of reasons not to go yet if only because I was waiting until a brisk walk upstairs to my apartment wouldn't definitely trigger a coughing fit that probably would trigger me vomiting up some portion of my last meal, this is the first day I could leave.

Got my stuff downstairs and loaded and went to join the Christians for Sunday after church lunch. We spent a lot of time talking about trying one of the seventeen other restaurants near the restaurant we always go to but, no big surprise, we went to the one we always go to. It's been like that for years. Eventually a restaurant will close or a new one will open and we'll start trying someplace else but, more or less, we go to the same one every Sunday cause we know the menu well enough to know what the kids will eat and what the pickier adults will eat and it's just less hassle.

From lunch I biked to the port to buy my ferry ticket. This is the same ferry I bought tickets on the last time I biked into Vietnam way back in January 2006. It ended up cancelled for weather that evening and I'd always thought my eventual transport to Beihai was a painful expensive clusterfuck. Which is not to say that it wasn't because it was. It's just that for all it was an extraordinarily uncomfortable experience, the ferry would have been worse.
Was in fact worse.

I'm just glad I don't have one of the beds right under the lights
Heart 0 Comment 0

My ticket took a very long time to buy. Partly because I don't have a Chinese ID card and no one ever knows how to handle my not being Chinese, partly because the instructions I was receiving for which window to go to (there were three Window #2's) were lacking. There was even a police officer who checked over my passport quite thoroughly with the attitude of someone who knew he definitely was supposed to be doing something but who didn't have a clue what that something was.

This is where the drivers line up to buy tickets for the ferries to the Mainland
Heart 0 Comment 0
Cars waiting to get on the ferry (including the ugliest paint job I have ever seen).
Heart 1 Comment 0
I've got this thing about rules and regulations. I actually enjoy reading them. You see, there is so much to learn by what a culture feels it is necessary to prohibit.
Heart 0 Comment 0

If you are going on one of the ferries to the Mainland you are prohibited from taking 

  1. Explosive things such as explosives and blasting caps; 
  2. Flammable liquids such as petroleum, distilled alcohol, kerosene, motor oil, paint; 
  3. Easily burnable solids such as firewood, cotton fluff, charcoal, coconut husks, three different kinds of unprocessed hemp; 
  4. Compressed gasses such as cigarette lighters; 
  5. Oxidants such as sodium peroxide; 
  6. Poisons such as arsenic and dichlovoros; 
  7. Corrosives such as hydrochloric acid; 
  8. Radioactive things such as metallic thorium and uranium; 
  9. Natural things such as fish powder; 
  10. Things that might become flammable if in contact with water such as calcium carbide, metallic sodium; 
  • Other dangerous materials such as nail polish, hair dye, waste water, and old batteries.

It's both the extremely comprehensive nature of this list as well as the randomness of some of the items on it (items which you can be sure are almost certainly present with the drivers of passenger cars) that you have to wonder "why did they even bother writing this list?".

A gate guard I kind of liked at the port
Heart 0 Comment 0

After I got my ticket, I went over to the nearest bike shop (under renovation), the second nearest bike shop (permanently shuttered when Beijing announced that the various branches of the military could no longer rent out shopfronts on the land at the edge of bases), and the third nearest bike shop where I finally got myself some lovely bungees that will help hold my front 'bags' in place, a small frame bag for my spare tubes, and a bandanna.

In addition to the cyclist buying a ticket to Hai'An right before I bought my ticket, there were two cyclists waiting to take the same ferry as me to Beihai. I never was entirely very clear on why they were waiting for the ferry instead of a bus or sleeper train or something like that as they repeatedly mentioned it being much too cold on the mainland to bike once they got there and how, as soon as they got to the mainland, they were going to just get a bus or a sleeper train or something like that and go straight home.

This is what happens when you live in a popular tourist destination which is also a popular cycling destination.

Toilet paper and soap in the women's bathroom at the port. This won't be a thing on the actual boat though.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Note how the ticket checker window is optimized for truck drivers. Passenger cars may make up a substantial amount of the traffic on the ferries but they are definitely an afterthought.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Waiting to board the ferry to Beihai
Heart 0 Comment 0

The main problem I had with the ferry was that I didn't specify wanting a 2-berth or a 4-berth or a 6-berth room. When I bought my ticket, I just said I wanted a bed. When I bought my ticket, I assumed that "common" meant seats when, in fact, "common" still had beds. It had them in a 36-berth room with a ceiling too low to sit up on the top bunk, multiple fellow passengers who didn't seem to get that the "No Smoking" signs applied to them, multiple fellow passengers fighting over the room temperature, and at least 4 loud snorers. They also didn't turn the lights off until midnight and, for some reason, started doing an active "Get Ready! Get Ready! Get Ready!" over 2 hours before we actually docked at around 8am.

View from the top bunk
Heart 0 Comment 0

Today's ride: 21 km (13 miles)
Total: 21 km (13 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 5
Comment on this entry Comment 1
Kathleen JonesNice to see you here, Marian. Ready to enjoy following along as usual.

Reply to this comment
6 years ago