A Long Ride To Karaoke Town

By Stephen Ewashkiw | January 15, 2014

8,424 km so far.

Today was our longest ride since being back on the bikes. We left Yangjiang this morning, headed for Diancheng, 92 km away, all of it on the G325. This meant we didn’t see much today apart from some construction, farms, and a few glimpses of the main freeway, the G15.

Chinese Cycle Route

We met four Chinese cycle tourists who were heading in the same direction as we are. We have seen a number of Chinese cycle tourists in these parts, I guess because the weather is nice, and the sea is close by, so there are lots of places to get away from the hustle, bustle, and pollution.

These guys are all kitted out for camping, with tents and sleeping bags strapped to their bikes.

Many Maos make light work, Diancheng, Guangdong.

Many Maos make light work, Diancheng, Guangdong.

They are, like us, headed to Hainan. We rode together a bit, and kept passing each other as one group would stop for a break while the other kept going.

We have seen so many Chinese cycle tourists these past couple of days it reminds me of being in Northern Europe, where we started to get blasé about seeing other cyclists on the road.

Jane’s note: We’ve seen fewer than 10. It’s not exactly an epidemic.

Lunch Lady Land

Lunchtime came just as a massive brand new high school appeared on one side of the road, with several restaurant and street food stalls on the opposite side. All the places sold a selection of fresh vegetables, with some combination of tofu, meat, and fish with a choice of several kinds of noodles, rice, and congee. All of it (except the rice and congee) was thrown into a boiling vat of broth and served up steaming hot.

foreigner at a small restaurant in china

Stephen picking out our lunch ingredients.

The food stalls were all packed to overflowing with students on their lunch break. Jane commented:

Imagine if teenagers in North America crowded around for this kind of food at lunch, instead of at McDonald’s.

We caused a bit of a stir, with students loving to say hello to us, and laughing uproariously every time we would say it back. One girl who was sitting behind Jane noticed her Canada flag and said, “Hey, are you really from Canada?”. We didn’t get any information out of her, but assume she had relatives there, as she said Canada, not Janada, and spoke English very well.

Our afternoon ride was again short and uneventful. We are now checked in to a brand new hotel (so brand new I can hear the sound of workmen finishing some part of it).

Hotel parking lot, backing onto farmland, Diancheng, Guangdong.

Hotel parking lot, backing onto farmland, Diancheng, Guangdong.

There are several hotels in town, and most of them seem to have been built or completely redone very recently. We aren’t sure who stops here or why the town needs these hotels as there seems to be little to attract tourists or businessmen. Even the bell tower and drum tower which we saw on Google Maps don’t seem to be here any more. But we are glad for our beautifully finished marble-floored space to crash in for the night.

We are both exhausted after 92 km in the sunshine today. It was only about 18C/66F, but the sun was continuous, and when you stop after 5 hours of riding, you realise how exhausted you are. It is a similar feeling to having been out skiing all day.

chinese farms in the city

Farmland in the city, Diancheng, Guangdong.

Jane has also managed to get a sunburn on her legs. She forgot to put sunscreen on them, because we’re just not used to having any sun.

All Night Disco Party

At dinner, we were served by two charming girls and their parents (we think), and watched over by a few great leaders.

man and two women giving peace sign

New friends, Diancheng, Guangdong.

When we got back from dinner we discovered our hotel was covered in bright flashing lights advertising KTV (that’s a karaoke club to you and me). Uh oh. We got up to our room to discover the karaoke might as well be in our room. It was loud, pumping, and featured Chinese men screaming at the top of their lungs.

If your hotel looks like this, find another hotel, Diancheng, Guangdong.

If your hotel looks like this, find another hotel, Diancheng, Guangdong.

The noise reminded us of our least restful camping experience ever. The first time we saw Madrugada play live was at a festival on a fjord in Norway. We camped at the festival right next to the resident wannabe DJ who played 50 Cent’s In Tha Club over and over and over again from massive speakers, right next to our tent. He finally shut down the sound system as the sun came up the next morning.

We tried to drown out the karaoke noise tonight by watching Sons Of Anarchy loudly, but we could still easily hear the terrible ‘singing’ overtop of it. Finally, around 11pm we called it a night, put our earplugs in and shut out the lights. Here’s hoping this isn’t a super non-stop uber-rocking disco party like we experienced in Pecs, Hungary.

Soundtrack: Liam Finn, FOMO | Fleetwood Mac, Rumours | Snoop Lion, Reincarnated | Wilco, The Whole Love | A.C. Newman, The Slow Wonder | Arcade Fire, The Suburbs | Benji Hughes, A Love Extreme, pt. 1 | Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, B.R.M.C.   

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