D52: Tandou Town to Haikou City - Tetchy Days in Vietnam - CycleBlaze

March 27, 2018

D52: Tandou Town to Haikou City

My first ferry of the day
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Dave MartinHi Marian, no idea how these message/comments thingoes work but I have a couple of Hainan related questions I'd love to ask if that's at all possible. Arriving on Sat this week so not exactly awesome timing. My partner and I are hoping to cycle and camp most of the time but bloody hell it's hard to get unconflicting information. No idea how to leave contact details but have WeChat if that's any help.
Dave, Melb, Aust
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4 years ago
Marian RosenbergMy WeChat and phone number are both 13518838911
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4 years ago

I easily could have made it to the next town if I'd continued last night. There even seems to be various indications that I would have found at least one hotel if I'd continued last night. But I would have been riding tired in a bit of a gray gloom at the end of a long day and instead I'm riding fresh in the brilliant sunshine at the beginning of a long day that will end in my own bed.

There are basically five north to south routes up the Leizhou Peninsula. I've twice done the east route on a bike. This time I did the west route on a bike. The three central routes (train, expressway, and National Road) I've all done more than once but never by bike. Based on this, I think I like the west route best. It has the least traffic and the least dust. And if it also has the least scenery, at least the scenery that it does have is nice shady tree farms.

Really, the only problem with the west route is that it has a tiny ferry near the south end that doesn't explicitly show up on any electronic maps and probably doesn't show up on many paper ones either. Looking at the pattern of the roads, I think there must be at least two regular ferry lines crossing the Liusha Bay but for someone who is traveling without language skills or who isn't willing to accept getting turned in circles while asking seventeen people for directions, the central and east routes are definitely easier.

When I got off the ferry, it was almost but not quite like being home. I still had another ferry, a big ferry, to take across the Qiongzhou Straits but other than minor little things like not recognizing any of the roads, it was just like being in Hainan. The geography, the shape of the land was Hainan. The rocks were Hainan. The crops, the houses, the people, the temples, they were Hainan. The wild mint with the little orange and yellow flowers. It was Hainan. The humidity and the sunshine and the color of the sunshine, they were Hainan. Even the sometimes musty smell from things had gotten wet and not properly dried, it was Hainan. All of it.

The little farm roads after the ferry I was on merged soon enough with a provincial road that took me first to Xilian Town and then to Maichen Town. I had fried chicken for lunch in Xilian. 

The place I went wasn't one of the recognizable nationwide chains nor was it was a clone copy of one of the recognizable ones, but the menu was the same as everywhere else. I always feel just a little bit like I'm copping out and taking the easy way when I get wontons in peanut sauce from a 沙县小吃 or beef noodles from a 兰州拉面 and I definitely feel like I'm copping out when I get a crispy fried chicken wrap. Thing is, I really like fried chicken wraps. In fact, I like the clone copy versions of fried chicken wraps better than KFC.

Nothing much happened between lunch and the ferry. After an hour of waiting, I found out I bought my ticket from the ferry terminal that would drop me 30km to the west of my apartment instead of ten and although it wasn't too late to cancel it and change, it was too late for me to catch the last ferry that was heading to the last downtown port.

The ferry I took was a really neat one with double decker parking. They had a car elevator to bring the cars onto the upper deck. No one seemed to know where my bike was supposed to go so getting it stowed took a while. I had just enough cash on me to buy a comfy seat in the VIP lounge and I'm glad I did. Other than one guy, who quickly got yelled at, no one smoked. The regular lounges, which I had to pass through during disembarking when I was trying to figure out where I was supposed to go as a "driver", they absolutely reeked of cigarettes and seasickness.

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Halfway into my ride from the port to my apartment, I stopped at a restaurant I know for ice water and creme brulee. It was close to closing time and they had an unsold chocolate mousse which they gave me as well.

I feel like the last time the beach road was widened, it must have been regraded. I swear, a decade ago when I used to come out here and train every evening, there were hills. There might still be. But a decade ago, I hadn't just finished with Vietnamese mountains.

I'm home.

Today's ride: 92 km (57 miles)
Total: 2,950 km (1,832 miles)

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