Today was another rainy day but unlike the last rainy day I was prepared. I'm in a better habit of checking the weather now, and I've got some better gear now to help me fight the cold and wetness. I now know how to use a trash bag as a means to keep my feed relatively dry. Its not actually about the water so much as the wind that'll make your feet cold while riding. My gloves were soaked during my ride today but my hands wear warm with the gloves on and cold with the gloves off. I made good time on the road today due to what I was listening to. I tried out Audible for the first time and listened to World War Z. Listening to something while riding is great. I can't believe I didn't do this before. Music isn't cerebral enough to keep my imagination active during the ride. Audio books are. Maybe podcast in general will suffice. I'm thinking of how best to get wifi to download a few books for the rest of the trip. Downloading via 3G seems like a waste.
Mid day I found a post office and shipped off my unused gear. My camp cook-set, tarp, sunscreen and my giant rain-pants are now on their way back to Shanghai. Total cost of shipping 19 RMB again. and I'm 2.5kg lighter now.
When I got to Rizhao a little after 3pm I decided to get a hotel, unload my gear into it and ride around the city. I'm glad I did because I got to enjoy the city instead of pass through it. I should have taken a rest day in Tianjin to do the same.
The difference between older Chinese cities and newer ones is quite notable. Old cities like Qingdao have no room for bike lanes becuase the roads have been the same for at least a hundred years. I don't really know if newer is the right word, but its clear cities like Rizhao had urban planners. The roads are wide and there are nice bike lanes. The tree lined roads in Rizhao really stood out to me, but perhaps my favorite thing is the beach. Theres a huge public park that stretches along the coast with great parking and plenty of paths going to and going along the ocean.The beach is easily accessible from the city via public transport as well.
When I got to the beach an old police man tried to stop me from entering the park with my bike. After a quick conversation, I blew him off and kept riding. It was wet, no one was in the park and I didn't have much daylight left to enjoy the ocean. Making things worse to his case in my mind, another person was cycling on the path I wanted to go down as well so I asked him why did he stop me and not them! I told him I'd be right back, peddled away from him and he went back into his police hut. He didn't bother chastising me when I rode back a few minutes later, so I figure he let it slide because I'm not Chinese. He might have just been a security guard but his hut definitely said "Public Peace". Blowing off a public servent and getting away with it got me thinking. Obviously I felt bad about it, but I only wanted a nice picture of the surf. I'm sure his job is important during the summer months when this park is mobbed with beach goers and bikes would be unsafe, but I was one of a few people there!
After the police man incident I got back into the park where there was an empty Police hut. From there I rode along the beach on a path curving from the beach to the trees every so often. It was some of the most enjoyable riding I've done on on the trip.
Dinner was from KFC, something I rarely eat here in China but I was craving some fried chicken. My breakfast and lunch were quite unsatisfying as well so that justified my junk food craving. Breakfast was cold bean porridge out of a can, which taste fine but not what I wanted. Lunch was a thick soup made with tough pork meat and some liver that cost me way to much for what it was.
I cycled about 120 km today and my left knee is telling me thats to much so tomorrow might be another rest day for me. I'll see in the morning. Hotel for the night cost me 107 RMB, the extra 27 RMB from the night before makes a big difference. The only down side is that I have to climb 2 flights of stairs to get to my room, but its much cleaner and better furnished than any of the hotel rooms I've been in yet, including Beijing and Qingdao.
The road from Qingdao to Rizhao is a great road and both Huangdao and Rizhao are great cities for cyclist. Enough hills to enjoy but no so many that you can't get around well like Qingdao.